The new iPod shuffle looks really slick and has some neat features, just like Apple products always do and have. I’m sure it’s a solid piece of hardware and all that too but it fails tremendously in one aspect, and this one is a devious move on the part of Apple, a company I thought liked music but which is now taking a dump on anyone with a serious interest in the quality of sound moving from iPod to ear.
As revealed in this review and others like it the design of the third generation iPod shuffle and custom chip inside of it effectively makes your favorite pair of headphones unable to play nice with it. From the article on iLounge:
There is, however, something that many users will care about: the new shuffle doesn’t fully work with any headphones except Apple’s. Because of what Apple has done here—something sneaky and arguably terrible for consumers, especially if it continues with other iPod and iPhone products in 2009—if you plug your old third-party headphones of any sort into the new shuffle, you’ll find that you can’t do anything with the device other than have it continuously play music, without volume controls or interruption, unless of course of you turn it off. Surprise: the only third-party headphones that will work are ones that haven’t even entered manufacturing yet, because they’ll need to contain yet another new Apple authentication chip, which will add to their price. Your only alternatives will be third-party remote control adapters—also not yet available, as Apple’s not even making one—and using Apple’s earphones.
Personally I think this is evil or at least really stupid. It’s common knowledge that the headphones that have come with every model of iPod so far pretty much suck and most people I know who buy an iPod get themselves another pair of headphones practically immediately, as did I. But someone getting the new shuffle can’t do that and that sucks big time.
Sticking a piece of DRM-hardware inside an iPod like this makes it harder and thus more expensive for third parties to develop hardware, having to have license it through Apple in order for it to work, for this model of iPod and for what? Apple claims that this will benefit the customer since it ensures only the best accessories will be available. I call bullshit.
The only purpose this move serves is to milk the iPod generation out of a little more cash. Basically Apple is starting to choke every nickle and dime they can out of the culture they created and I think it’s pretty disgusting. They’re locking down things more and more and although they’ve done good with iTunes and dropped a lot of the DRM on there, their hardware is being locked down, chained up and suffocated by DRM and other nefarious schemes to the point where I’m starting to get a foul taste in my mouth.
For another example, just look at the whole HDCP-debacle with the new MacBooks. What the hell was that about? Sure, they did a little good after a storm of complaints but why were they doing it in the first place?
Apple started out as a company that wanted to “stick it to the man”. Jobs and Wozniak was a big middle-finger in the face of dragons like IBM and HP but now they’re starting to become that very corporate evil that they didn’t want to be associated with back then. It isn’t about “thinking differently” or having fun with technology anymore. It’s all about the mighty dollar, plain and simple. Sure, I understand that a company needs to make money to survive but they don’t have to repeatedly rape the people that gave them their success in the first place.
Apple knows they have a cult following and they know they have these fanbois by the balls. What they’re doing now is exploiting this fact and sneaking shit in little by little. It’s premeditated and it’s evil.
Quite frankly, I’m disappointed and this is also a huge part in why I decided to move away from full-time computing on the Mac-platform after less than a year. I’m afraid that Apple might be losing it’s soul and I don’t want to be trapped in a soulless prison any more than I have to.