Various sources have accused Apple of implementing new DRM technology into the new talking iPod Shuffle. However, these accusations are simply a result of misunderstanding the design of the new talking iPod Shuffle.
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The new iPod Shuffle implements almost all user controls on the headphone cable. Since the headphone cable (and its embedded controls) is required to navigate through songs and adjust volume levels, many pundits have accused Apple of implementing a DRM (digital rights management) scheme because users will not be able to connect the iPod to other output devices (external speakers, stereo receivers, headphones for more than one person) which they feel is an attempt to limit the free duplication and distribution of music. They have chastised Apple for benefiting from such limitations, along with the music publishers.
However, the headphone jack on the new iPod is still a normal analog stereo headphone jack. Once music is selected and volume adjusted, the iPod can be connected for output to any headphones, stereo receivers, or external speakers. If Apple had wanted to, they could have made sound from the iPod unavailable without the new headphones.
In addition, Apple is going to provide an optional adapter for the new iPods with the aforementioned controls on it, with its own headphone jack for any third-party external connections. This will allow users to connect the new iPod to anything while still retaining the ability to select music and adjust the volume.
Apple is not seeking to stifle creativity and innovation and has allowed other vendors to develop and market external devices and even competing headphones that include functional iPod controls. Vendors are free to implement their own version of the controls by reverse-engineering the Apple controls, or else they can license the exact control technology from Apple under the “made for iPod” program.
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