New iPod Shuffle DRM chip – not.

“Paranoia strikes deep…”

It seems that Boing Boing gadgets found (gasp!) a chip lurking in the 3rd generation iPod shuffle headphone controller. Donning their tinfoil hats they then proceeded to speculate it was a DRM chip, preventing non-approved headphones from working with the Shuffle. Could this be the start of Apple using its 70% of the MP3 player market to crush the headphone industry?

Erm… No.

The craziness even spread as far as the usually more sensible Macintouch, where a user’s post of a link to BoingBoing caused mention of the authentication chip to be rolled into their Shuffle review.

Fortunately after a bit more digging some rationality seems to have prevailed. Yes, you still have to license it from Apple, but on the plus side it means you can sell your wares to all the iPod Shuffle owners out there.

Of course, the Shuffle still starts playing through plain old stereo headphones when you plug them in.

Say it with iPods

Apple US’s corporate gifting and rewards program lets you get 50 or more iPods engraved with your corporate logo or message. You can also buy 50 packs of iTunes store gift cards in US$10,US$15,US$25 or US$50 each. It also mentions MacBooks, MacBook Pros and iMacs. I wonder if they’re available in 50 packs too?

iTunes and the Blind

Some friends of mine have written an article for Media Culture called iTunes Is Pretty (Useless) When You’re Blind: Digital Design Is Triggering Disability When It Could Be a Solution.
Check it out!

Although I’m somewhat suspicious that the claim that pod in iPod stands for “Portable on Demand”, seems more like a backronym coined by those wanting to use it to attempt to avoid being sued by Apple’s Lawyers.

Meanwhile some folks find podcasting less than inclusionary (sadly for a lecture series on Disability Inclusion!)

Personally I think the iPhone will suck from the ‘You have to look at it to use it’ point of view. Buttons at least make phones easier to use without looking at them. Perhaps some accelerometer based gesture user interface (although difficult to use in your pocket without looking somewhat suspicious 🙂 Roll on the haptic iPhone.

iTunes Movie Rentals announced

After announcing that iTunes has sold 4 billion songs (20 million on Christmas Day), 125 million TV shows, and 7 million movies, Steve Jobs today announced the availability of iTunes Movie Rentals (for US users only!) with content from Sony, Universal, Touchstone, Miramax, MGM, Lionsgate, Newline, Fox, Warner Bros, Disney and Paramount.This will include over 1000 movies available 30 days after DVD release. Watch on Mac, PC, iPod or iPhone within 30s start time (assuming you’ve got decent broadband), and movies available for watching within 30 days but must be watched within 24 hours of starting to watch. US$2.99 for library titles and US$3.99 for new releases