Apple has confirmed the existence of a proprietary chip in the on-cord controller of the company’s headsets that began shipping with the new iPod Shuffle announced last week, but the chip itself serves no “authentication” function and will not prevent third party headset manufacturers from producing headsets that work with Apple’s music player, according to company spokespersons.
The chip will be required for headsets wishing to bear the “Made for iPod” licensing certification for accessories that work with iPods, however. Apple has thus created a new revenue stream and extended “Made for iPod” certification to headphones/remotes, accessories that were not previously required to be certified as “Made for iPod”.
So while there is no DRM in the chips themselves, third-party headset manufacturers who want their products to be sold in Apple Stores and / or to be regarded as competitive, are likely to feel pressure to pay for the chips and obtain the “Made for iPod” certification.
The proprietary chips will cost manufacturers less than $1, bundled with a $2 microphone, according to one report.