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Give iPod Thieves an Unchargeable Brick

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the this-ones-for-the-guy-that-stole-mine dept.

Media (Apple) 338

Svippy writes "Apple has patented a technology for new generations of iPods that would detect when a user tries to operate the iPod on an unauthorised machine ... and will refuse to charge. Indefinitely. From the article: 'Every portable gadget with a rechargeable battery has a charging circuit that recognises when the external mains charger has been plugged in. It then manages the transfer of current to the battery. Apple's patent suggests that by attaching a "guardian circuit" to the charging circuit, it would be possible to block the charging process. When a device is plugged into an unauthorised computer, software would compare a security code in the device to a code buried in the software in the computer. Apple already employs a similar technology to "pair" iPods to iTunes running on a specific Mac or PC. If the codes do not match, then the guardian circuit could be triggered to prevent any further charging.'"

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False positives (5, Insightful)

sleekware (1109351) | more than 7 years ago | (#20015807)

I can imagine this will raise a lot of false positives. It reminds me of Windows Genuine Advantage, only nastier...

Re:False positives (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20015913)

Why would you need "authorization" just to charge your iPod on any box, I wonder.

Re:False positives (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20015943)

Why would you need "authorization" just to activate your new phone, I wonder.

Re:False positives (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20016095)

Your phone battery is low. You are not at home near your charger or your computer. You ask a friend if you can plug your phone in via USB to charge it. But, surprise, it is not "authorized" to charge on that box.

Re:False positives (2, Interesting)

the_mad_postar (990721) | more than 7 years ago | (#20016369)

Or worse: You bought your new iPod used at a Garage Sale, because the previous owner bought a new one with a larger storage capacity.

opt-in future proof protection (2, Insightful)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 7 years ago | (#20016351)

Why would you need "authorization" just to charge your iPod on any box, I wonder.
I can think of multile ways this could be implemented.
option 1) the ipod requires you to enter a password to charge or access it on a "foreign" computer. Not sure why charging matters here however.

option 2) the ipod simply won't charge on a foreign computer IF you opt-in to that feature. One would make that default off. But if enough people used that aspect, it might become a theft deterrent. plus it's something that could be enabled later on, even if there's no great ipod crime wave right now, and thus no perceived need.

For example, one could do it like the firmware password protection all macs have but is off by default. Of course it's not very effective for hardware theft because it can be overridden by anyone with possession of the computer. It's mainly for highetened data protection from people with casual opportunistic access. But if one were to implement it so that it could not be overridden except by apple, then I could see this working on ipods. Since ipods are seldom as mission critical as laptops, having one get locked and have to be sent in for repair is not as great a burden as it would be for the laptop.

Re:False positives (2, Informative)

hey! (33014) | more than 7 years ago | (#20016103)

Well sorta. But how well it works makes a big difference, doesn't it?

They've already got this in place to protect DRM'd music bought through the iTunes store, and as far as I can see it works perfectly well. You don't have to run around finding any little faux-stock-certificates, you don't have to call up an Apple representative and provide a justification for what you are doing. The Apple system is simple, permissive, and reasonably fool proof provided you have an email account that you can rely upon.

weeee (1, Insightful)

notque (636838) | more than 7 years ago | (#20015811)

I hate that feature, you should be able to use your ipod on multiple machines. It's interesting as a lock out mech for thieves, but is the main reason why I sold my ipod, and have no intention of using one.

If I can't add, remove, edit songs on any machine I am not interested. I tried open source software for managing it, and that didn't work well at all.

Also, how would this work for reselling? I guess you resell with the same charger, or something.

Re:weeee (5, Informative)

balamw (552275) | more than 7 years ago | (#20015875)

You can use any iPod with multiple computers. Just set it to manually manage music and it'll work fine with any machine you throw at it.


Re:weeee (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20015885)

I tried open source software for managing it, and that didn't work well at all
You are correct for all possible values of 'it'.

Re:possible solutions (5, Interesting)

TheMeuge (645043) | more than 7 years ago | (#20015909)

I suppose it would be relatively easy to implement a password system, where you generate a password when you first plug in a new iPod, and then have to use it when you sync or charge. That would let you use the iPod on as many computers as you want, as long as you enter the password. If you forget the password, you can go back to the Apple store with your credit card or receipt, and since all iPods have unique identification, they could reset it for you, once you provide proof that it's your property. ... wouldn't work too well if you bought it on ebay though... ... but I suppose Apple would enjoy it if their products weren't able to be resold.

Re:possible solutions (2, Insightful)

realthing02 (1084767) | more than 7 years ago | (#20016113)

What happens when it's given as a gift? I don't expect the receiver to hold onto a piece of paper for very long... I don't like this idea. Unless you can definitely determine that someone else is using the ipod improperly- this seems like a bad idea. But if anyone can figure this out, it's apple.

Re:possible solutions (2, Interesting)

MPAB (1074440) | more than 7 years ago | (#20016119)

How long till advertisements appear on ebay, offering to unlock iPods for half the price and no questions asked?

Re:weeee (3, Insightful)

EvanED (569694) | more than 7 years ago | (#20015925)

Wait, forget using it on multiple machines. Does this suggest that you need to plug your iPod into ANY machine to charge it? You can't just plug it into the wall?

If this is true, it seems like a really retarded idea to me. The times when I want an iPod the most -- when I'm on a trip -- are exactly the times when I'm not going to be near my machine and exactly the time when I'll need to charge it more.

Re:weeee (2, Informative)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 7 years ago | (#20016029)

Lots of people think so, because Apple stopped including wall chargers with iPods somewhere around Gen 4ish. You just get the USB to iPod cable.

They can be had for about $5US at Fry's.

Re:weeee (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20016105)

Not necessarily. The iPod looks for a code provided by iTunes. Presumably the wall chargers would provide no code at all. So the lockout would only happen when using an incorrect code, not if no code at all is presented.

Obviously that would mean the thieves could recharge it using a wall socket and listen to your music all they liked, but they would never be able to change the music on the device or resell it. And that would really limit the appeal of nicking one (especially if you nicked one from a Des O'Connor fan ;-))

Re:weeee (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 7 years ago | (#20016143)

That makes a lot more sense. I probably should have RTFA before commenting. (Not that I know TFA covers this bit, because I still haven't read it. But whatever.)

Re:weeee (5, Informative)

Cahrin (1002520) | more than 7 years ago | (#20015927)

Rockbox [] is a good open source solution that allows you to manage your iPod on any machine without using iTunes.

Re:weeee (1)

Poromenos1 (830658) | more than 7 years ago | (#20016287)

I have looked at Rockbox, but if I can't sync with my player and have smart playlists that update themselves when I star/unstar songs (my main organization method on the iPod), it's going to be a bit cumbersome.

I have found that ml_ipod for Winamp is the best thing to manage your iPod with (and iTunes might be the worst piece of crap after RealPlayer). ml_ipod does anything I could ask for (except for unicode filenames :/), and if you don't need the advanced stuff, pmp_ipod which ships with winamp is also great.

Re:weeee (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20015983)

Yeah, sounds like a dumb idea thought of by smart guys.

Re:weeee (2, Insightful)

Poppler (822173) | more than 7 years ago | (#20016243)

If I can't add, remove, edit songs on any machine I am not interested. I tried open source software for managing it, and that didn't work well at all.
Has it been a while since you tried? This has gotten a lot better lately IMO. I use Amarok to manage my iPod; I use it on as many computers as I like, and it lets me pull songs from my (or any) ipod into my collection. It's as seamless as running iTunes, only without the restrictions.

Bricks anyone? (5, Funny)

Applekid (993327) | more than 7 years ago | (#20015813)

Give iPod Thieves an Unchargeable Brick
Can't I just keep the ipod and give them a brick painted as an iPod like the P-P-P-Powerbook [] instead?

DRM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20015825)

What's that rumbling in the distance? Oh, that's the sound of the DRM trolls on their way to Slashdot.

It would be unfortunate (5, Insightful)

Paxton (24233) | more than 7 years ago | (#20015827)

... if car chargers won't work.

Re:It would be unfortunate (1)

amigabill (146897) | more than 7 years ago | (#20016219)

Or car head-units that control the ipod from the dash and send ipod audio directly through the car amps and speakers.

another idea (5, Funny)

notoriousE (723905) | more than 7 years ago | (#20015847)

An ipod is plugged into an unauthorized computer and all of a sudden dozens of crappy songs are downloaded to it... songs that no one wants to hear like

Freeze Frame by J Geils Band

or wannabe by the spice girls

or wake me up before you go go by wham

mmmbop by hanson

you know, horrible stuff like that --- i know if i were a thief the idea of horrible music would deter me

Re:another idea (1)

Radon360 (951529) | more than 7 years ago | (#20015941)

But you forgot the part about locking into an unstoppable, repetitious playing of named songs at full volume through whatever audio outputs and speakers are available to it.

Don't forget about that wonderful screen. You got to cycle through some distasteful images with interlaced commentary for added effect. Goatse, perhaps as one?

Re:another idea (1)

syrrys (738867) | more than 7 years ago | (#20016049)

And then someone sues Apple for hearing loss or subjecting them to obscene images. Why dont they just use biometric security? If you want your friends to be able to use your iPod then you can save their Bio-Profile to the device as well.

Re:another idea (1)

realthing02 (1084767) | more than 7 years ago | (#20016165)

You are correct. I'm sure there aren't any fingerprints one could lift on that hand held device.

Re:another idea (1)

metlin (258108) | more than 7 years ago | (#20015967)

And here I thought that the kind of people that wanted an iPod were the kind that listened to *exactly* that kind of music! ;-)

Re:another idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20016327)

wannabe by the spice girls

(Real conversation between myself and a coworker during the Spice Girls' popularity)

Coworker (Singing):

"So tell me what you want, what you really really want,
I'll tell you what I want, what I really really want,
So tell me what you want, what you really really want,
I wanna, I wanna, I wanna, I wanna, I wanna---"


"I want you to Shut. Up."

She looked at me with the most surprised look on her face. Right before breaking out into fits of laughter. Who knew that Spice Girl fans actually had a sense of humor?

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go dig up my Mmmmbop album.

So what? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20015849)

It's already stolen so who cares? How about some personal responsibility for looking after your stuff.

Re:So what? (1)

Slippery Pete (941650) | more than 7 years ago | (#20016111)

I agree. I would rather have the product work everywhere (car chargers, other people's chargers when I forget mine, etc) than have an inconvenience for a thief.

Nothing promises this technology won't be broken in the future, which just means the people who paid money for the device are the ones inconvenienced.

Not the only use (5, Insightful)

Dan East (318230) | more than 7 years ago | (#20015857)

I'm sure the usefulness of this technology in other areas has been considered as well. Specifically, things like bricking a device because a subscription has run out, or disabling it because DRM rights have been violated. After all, once the hardware is in place, it can be used for other purposes by simple software "upgrades".

Dan East

Re:Not the only use (0)

megaditto (982598) | more than 7 years ago | (#20016373)

Why stop there, why not connect the 'guardian' circuit to a crowbar thyristor across a Sony Li-ion battery?

Better to not get it stolen in the first place. (5, Funny)

Filter (6719) | more than 7 years ago | (#20015865)

Hide [] it in a Zune.

Re:Better to not get it stolen in the first place. (3, Funny)

backwardMechanic (959818) | more than 7 years ago | (#20015973)

Don't be silly. We all know the Zune's a mythical beast, and doesn't really exist.

Thieves aren't that dumb... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20016325)

They'd know it was a trick because nobody wants a Zune.

Great... (4, Funny)

Radon360 (951529) | more than 7 years ago | (#20015869)

Finally a digital device that will go on an energy hunger strike if it doesn't like its connectivity situation.

So, would this make the iPhone the Gandhi of portable devices?

Bad idea (4, Insightful)

hcdejong (561314) | more than 7 years ago | (#20015871)

I've recharged friends' iPods on my computer (which is obviously not authorized for that iPod). If that were to result in bricking the iPod, I'd be pissed.

Unbricking the iPod when it's connected to an authorized computer would mitigate, but not solve, the problem.

PRM (4, Funny)

MontyApollo (849862) | more than 7 years ago | (#20015879)

PRM...Physical Rights Management...

Re:PRM (2, Funny)

rob1980 (941751) | more than 7 years ago | (#20015975)

I prefer PCE: Physical Consumer Enablement. It's more... enabling.

Thieves? (2, Insightful)

muellerr1 (868578) | more than 7 years ago | (#20015881)

This may be marketed as a theft-deterrent, but it's also enabling Apple to exert more control over when and how you listen to your own music. This would also make it very easy for Apple to brick your iPod for doing something they don't approve of. Not that I'm saying they'd abuse that power that way, but it would be technically possible.

iPods and multiple machines (3, Insightful)

metlin (258108) | more than 7 years ago | (#20015883)

I've already had hell with the ridiculous interface of iTunes and trying to sync my music across more than one machine (work + home + notebook).

Now, on top of everything, it's going to refuse to charge unless I show that I am the owner on all three? Or maybe, I can only charge it on one?

Either way, this is only making a bad problem worse.

Bad enough that iTunes has more than once destroyed my music backup because I tried added music from another machine. Now it's also going to not let me use my iPod?

Nice. And here I thought Apple was about usability.

utterly nonsense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20015893)

when i am somewhere else and forgot my charger, i wont be able to get power anymore ... thanks, what a wonderful idea, use biometrics like a fingerprint instead if you really think its needed, the basic hardware seems to be there already imho

What could possibly go wrong? (1)

uncreativeslashnick (1130315) | more than 7 years ago | (#20015895)

Great feature! Can't imagine what could possibly go wrong...

Please stop protecting me from myself (1)

HitekHobo (1132869) | more than 7 years ago | (#20015899)

There's nothing I like better than features built into software and hardware that prevent it from working in an unintended and perhaps more efficient way. At least sell two different versions or let the buyer set this on or off before the first use. I'd hate to find out that product X will never work with my equipment because I don't have an apple approved piece of hardware or an apple approved driver etc. Why not just use the ever-annoying hardware dongle to authenticate. Remember how much we loved those things?

Not surprised... (1, Interesting)

lantastik (877247) | more than 7 years ago | (#20015901)

One of the MANY reasons I would never buy an iPod.

Re:Not surprised... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20016131)

What would you get as an alternative? Or were you just riding your troll?

Re:Not surprised... (1)

brunascle (994197) | more than 7 years ago | (#20016263)

for the record, my zen is fantabulous. of course, i'm annoyed that it cant play flac or ogg, so my next one will probably be a cowon.

Crack-around available in 5 ... 4 ... 3 ... (1)

ClickOnThis (137803) | more than 7 years ago | (#20015905)

Honestly, how long would it take for someone to find a way around this and post it on the internet? I'm not saying it isn't a good idea -- kind of a DRM for the device-owner instead of the content-owner, for a change. Still, I can't see it working as a deterrent to theives for all that long.

Re:Crack-around available in 5 ... 4 ... 3 ... (1)

hobo sapiens (893427) | more than 7 years ago | (#20016011)

Exactly. This will do exactly what DRM does: punish some legitimate users and be cracked by anyone with a little bit of know-how. Why isn't this fact obvious to everyone?

How about not walking through dark alleys flashing your iPod? How about not leaving it in your parked car in plain sight? In other words, this is not the way to deter theft.

Charge through a AC Adapter? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20015907)

Why not just charge it through the AC Adapter? How would the iPod know if it was being charged from a non trusted computer? Now if you want to change music?

What if it's recovered? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20015935)

What happens when the iPod is stolen, does it's magical transformation into a brick, but then gets returned to the owner? Will it forever remain a brick?

In other words.... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20015959)

Now Apple can make sure all of those third party docking pods have paid the Apple tax. Apple must have had a meeting with the ink jet makers.
Oh please, twist the story and prove to me why this is really a good thing for the vast majority of users.
OMG, think of all the stolen iPods!!! Do that many iPods really get stolen where this is needed? If so, wouldn't a lock function where some type of password or some specific thumb wheel action is required be a better option like all cell phones have?

What about non PC charging? (4, Interesting)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 7 years ago | (#20015971)

I've got an external USB charger I use when I'm traveling, would they decide my iPod needs to die if I used it?

All I want to be able to do is charge my friggin' iPod when I'm away from home. I don't think Apple should be deciding where I can charge my iPod -- what damage to them if I use a different machine to *charge* the damned thing.

I mean, it's not like you can extract songs from an iPod readily. (At least, not such that I've seen). This just sounds like really dumb functionality.

will never happen.... (4, Interesting)

FunkyELF (609131) | more than 7 years ago | (#20015977)

I could see not letting iTunes do anything with it on an unauthorized computer, but charging? What bout all the other non-computer things that charge iPods now-a-days like car kits or plain old usb power adapters that go into wall sockets.

My girlfriend has a car charger, a wall charger, and an iHome which all charge her iPod.

Maybe (1)

The Cisco Kid (31490) | more than 7 years ago | (#20015987)

*IF* the owner of the device, using some sort of key or password, had complete control of which computers were 'authorized', this might be a great way to discourage theft of iPods.

Obviously, if the owner did not have control, then it is utter crap user-hostile technology.

great idea (4, Insightful)

brunascle (994197) | more than 7 years ago | (#20015989)

uh oh, your PC stopped booting? congratulations, you iPod just did too.

Is that true? (1)

tacokill (531275) | more than 7 years ago | (#20015997)

Is it true that iPods can only pair up with one computer? I don't have one but this seems like a pretty hard limitation, if true.

So what do you do if you have a work AND home computer? You can only synch on one?

I am so confused.

Re:Is that true? (1)

varmittang (849469) | more than 7 years ago | (#20016185)

When you connect your iPod to a different computer, it pops up saying that it is synced with a different computer. I believe it also asks if you want to pair it with the current computer, or just leave it paired with the other computer, just allowing you to sync more music and video to it, not the personal contacts and stuff.

Re:Is that true? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20016189)

You aren't confused at all. In fact, you're perfectly correct.

At least, if you're using iTunes. If you're using another program to sync it, that restriction doesn't exist.

(plus one Infwormative) (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20016003)

I can see it now... (5, Funny)

BigCanOfTuna (541234) | more than 7 years ago | (#20016015)

...the thief only wanted my $250 iPod, but took my $3000 MacBook Pro to make it work.

Um... (4, Insightful)

GoodbyeBlueSky1 (176887) | more than 7 years ago | (#20016041)

What about the (old-fashioned!) method of charging via wall-outlet? Do I have to register my apartment with Apple now?

Something in this article seems fishy and I don't think we're getting the full story of Apple's intentions, because the whole thing makes zero sense to me.

Re:Um... (1)

EtoilePB (1087031) | more than 7 years ago | (#20016195)

Ditto. I have a 5th gen iPod now but I still charge primarily from the wall charger that came with my 3rd gen iPod (which had an, er, unfortunate sidewalk incident). In fact, at least ten of my co-workers have iPod wall chargers that either came with their iPods or they bought somewhere as accessories (because we're always mooching off each other when one of us has no battery).

So... yeah. I really don't care if my iPod won't charge on someone else's computer, because it'll probably charge on someone else's wall.

Free AAC's but Locked Device (1)

asphaltjesus (978804) | more than 7 years ago | (#20016045)

This is very useful for a myriad of devices that connects to the internet. The device in question (ex. ipod, laptop) is a total slave in the sense that rogue devices will have a temporary impact.

RIAA members are probably quite satisfied with it. It's conceivable that governments would be pleased as well.

This is a Hack Waiting to Happen. (1)

deweycheetham (1124655) | more than 7 years ago | (#20016063)

enuff said...

Make the iPod impossible to update. (4, Funny)

pcraven (191172) | more than 7 years ago | (#20016069)

I've learned that if you plug a USB socket into the Firewire plug on your motherboard, any subsequently connected USB iPod is then "secured" against further updates. Interesting noises are included as the internal protection circuit is established.

You can still charge it.

Would be better for the iPhone (1)

bryan1945 (301828) | more than 7 years ago | (#20016071)

Your iPhone gets stolen, you report it. The next time the iPhone connects to the network it get a notification that it's stolen. Next time you sync to iTunes, it reports its IP, location (in a future GPS enabled version), something.

Deploy RDF forces and, wham!, Voldermort is spanked by Darth Vader!

Or did I just mix to many metaphors at the end? (I still think my first idea is ok, though)

What would be better (1)

Toreo asesino (951231) | more than 7 years ago | (#20016077)

would be if an iPod had an optional lock code that on first sync would be entered and subsequently code, no charge. Oh, and just make sure external chargers would work too...I know that would be a way around not having any battery, but one set of tracks gets pretty damned boring after a while

hacking the xbo.. i mean ipod (1)

conspirator57 (1123519) | more than 7 years ago | (#20016093)

If they want this to work, they'd better integrate the whole charging circuit into the CPU or people (me included) will cut their punk-ass enable line on the circuit board.

Re:hacking the xbo.. i mean ipod (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#20016283)

yes, but there s what? maybe 1000 people in the world that would bother?

Good idea, if following is implemented (1)

mmxsaro (187943) | more than 7 years ago | (#20016115)

I find this to be a pretty neat idea, IMHO, but only if the following options were introduced to eliminate potential disasters.

1) Allow the owner to pair with more than one machine/iTunes setup, perhaps with a PIN (set by the owner) of some sort as a means of security. This would work if the PIN entry was done on the iPod though, or else people not using iTunes would be out of luck. iTunes server-auth could work too.
2) If the iPod's charging mechanism were to be accidentally turned off (you forgot your PIN, etc.) then reactivation would still be possible if I were to dock my iPod on my legit machine back home with the right codes.

This option should also be able to be turned off in case one were to sell his iPod to a new user (in iTunes, "Change iPod Owner" function before you ship it off to someone...) or else we'd be stuck with the device forever.

Maybe for the iPhone, not the iPod (1)

moore.dustin (942289) | more than 7 years ago | (#20016125)

The iPhone can _maybe_ benefit from something like this, but not the iPod. The iPhone has personal information (maybe), but really it does not make sense for either device. Why is it the treat their customer as thieves a,s the solution to 'thieves.'

The big problem (1)

Megane (129182) | more than 7 years ago | (#20016127)

So what happens when your power adapter breaks? []

Got a soldering iron? (3, Insightful)

TrebleJunkie (208060) | more than 7 years ago | (#20016137)

Anyone with a soldering iron and a little time on their hands would likely be able to bypass this. You've got to have a battery somewhere, and you've got to have leads to that battery.

Yeah, it means cracking open the device, but if you've stolen it, there's a good chance you're not going to care all that much about some pry marking on the case.

Apple are wusses (2, Funny)

Sciros (986030) | more than 7 years ago | (#20016155)

I fully expect Microsoft to counter this pansy-ass display of "user protection" with the PROPER way of doing it -- if someone plugs the Zune into an unauthorized computer, the Zune explodes. KABLAMO! It'll be like Blade's sword, only with less bad acting.

Anyway like a bunch of people have already said, this is probably going to anger a lot more people than it's going to make happy (as far as consumers go). I for one would rather *not* have my device have a feature like "if you hook this up to the "wrong" machine, it's forever forfeit."

Not to mention this won't act as a deterrent for thieves worth crap.

So my car charger is not authorized? (3, Insightful)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 7 years ago | (#20016167)

There are dozens of vendors like belkin selling simple chargers for iPods without using the USB ports. So they all wont be able to charge iPods? Apple can at best thwart iTunes/iPod link on devices reported to be stolen. But preventing charging? Nah.

this is horrible (2, Insightful)

SolusSD (680489) | more than 7 years ago | (#20016169)

can you imagine the consumer outcry when thousands of iPod owners can't get their iPods to turn on simply because they didn't understand the concept of pairing their iPod with their machine?

what if I have miultiple computers? (2, Insightful)

amigabill (146897) | more than 7 years ago | (#20016171)

Say I have my music library stored on a large hard drive in a desktop. But I go on vacation and take my laptop, and try to charge my ipod from the laptop via the USB cable because that's smaller than the wall-wart? Is my own laptop recognized as a different PC and does that lock me out of my own ipod? Maybe I'm at a friend's house and want to charge up my ipod before we go on a long bike ride or run together, and I left my own authorized laptop at home? He has a USB cable but not a wall wart. Does his computer lock me out of my own ipod even though I had no intention of even running itunes or transferring files, I just wanted some fresh electrons?

I hope they have a plan in mind to make sure people are not locked out of their own devices.

Uhh... (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 7 years ago | (#20016175)

DRM for electronics? No thanks.

Apple Universe (1)

partowel (469956) | more than 7 years ago | (#20016211)

Welcome to the apple universe.

1. Thou shall worship apple and all apple accessories.

2. Any other companies not in league with apple are heretics. Thou shall destroy with great vengeance and furious anger.

3. Apple is supreme overlord of the universe.

4. No one may misuse the name of apple or be curse for 7 generations.

5. Thou shall not steal apple or any apple accessories.

6. Thou shall not kill apple unless the apple guardian says it is okay.

7. Apple doesn't care if you are an adulterer.

8. Apple wants you to covet all things apple.

9. Apple OS is the best OS.

10. Everyone must use apple.

Excellent business case (2, Insightful)

wiresquire (457486) | more than 7 years ago | (#20016213)

What a great way to stop people selling their iPods to someone else and instantly making 2nd hand market for iPods impossible!

1. The device is 'attached' to a particular person's computer(s)
2. The device and user is known to the manufacturer, eg via iTunes
3. As the iPod can be effectively rendered useless if someone else buys or uses it, you can't buy one 2nd hand, so you have to fork out for a new one.
4. Profit!

I suggest buying AAPL immediately!

1984? (0, Flamebait)

Pap22 (1054324) | more than 7 years ago | (#20016233)

Does anyone else find it ironic how Apple has become the very thing their iconic 1984 commercial [] rebelled against?

Re:1984? (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#20016339)

they were rebelling against mediocrity. This has nothing to do with that.

I will take a moment to remind people (3, Informative)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#20016235)

that this is a patent, not an implementation.

Hopefully it's well thought-out (2, Insightful)

Luke Dawson (956412) | more than 7 years ago | (#20016257)

Otherwise should your charger break, you're screwed. There has to be some sort of unlock mechanism available for legitimate times when using another charger/computer is needed ("oops, I dropped my charger/laptop in the bath"). Of course that means there'd be a way around the lock mechanism. Which means it will be cracked. Which essentially renders it pointless to all but the Google-impaired.

False Possitives (1)

varmittang (849469) | more than 7 years ago | (#20016267)

That is what everyone is wondering about. But I'm thinking that there could be a pass phrase or something to unlock the iPod to any computer, so that it isn't accidentally locked and can't be undone. Now, if it gets locked, thats when no charger will work until you plug it into a computer and put in the correct pass phrase to undo the no charging. I would see that working and helping to keep theft down.

The nice thing about these types of innovations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20016289)

is that nothing can possibly go wrong! Sure, we'll give guns to the robot guards -- after all, their loyalty and logic are impeccable. Sure, an electromagnetic field can prevent the powerplant's antimatter from touching the containment vessel -- and it's foolproof because a powerplant never loses power! Sure, we can encrypt the information that the customer bought, because they'll always be able to call us to get the key. Sure, we can engineer our electronic device to not recharge if stolen -- because the intentionally defective behavior will (really!) only be triggered by theft.

I, for one, welcome our Apple overlords. One thing they've taught me, is that computers never, ever make mistakes or screw up. The chances of my iPod and my iMac disagreeing and ruining my day, are so remote as to not be worth thinking about.

Just What Are You Expecting? (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 7 years ago | (#20016305)

Just what are you expecting here? That when the thief discovers that this is a 'new unchargable' iPod that he's going to return it to you? He'll toss it away, or sell it for less to a hack shop. Either way, you'll never see your iPod again, so how have you benefited?

What about accessories? (1)

erareno (1103509) | more than 7 years ago | (#20016307)

They don't send out this "code", do they?

Pfff... (1)

morari (1080535) | more than 7 years ago | (#20016329)

Stolen iPods! Why not try being more responsible with your over-price and completely unnecessary piece of "technology" instead?

Misleading Summary (1)

kansas1051 (720008) | more than 7 years ago | (#20016335)

The summary makes it seems like this technology is "patented." Apple hasn't patented this yet, they only filed a patent application which was recently published (US 20070138999). It will probably be years before the U.S. Patent Office even exams this application to determine if a patent should be granted.

This could work better than you think (1)

jgarra23 (1109651) | more than 7 years ago | (#20016343)

So if you could authorize an unlimited number of machines, the ipod would have the authorization key (read: password) encrypted on it & you could authorize your iPod on as many computers as you like by punching in your password. Of course, if you lose your password all you should have to do is tell iTunes (or whatever) to reset your password back to default or blank, thereby turning this functionality/feature off.

Maybe I'm missing something (or not) but this doesn't sound like a bad idea to me. The RIAA gets to encrypt & restrict MY music, why not at least give me the ability to encrypt and/or restrict my iPod??

Different idea (1)

bossesjoe (675859) | more than 7 years ago | (#20016345)

How about something that phones home, meaning this could only happen if an a iPod was reported stolen and then resurfaced on another computer connected to the internet.

Isn't that kinda pointless... (1)

cthellis (733202) | more than 7 years ago | (#20016353)

...considering anyone could charge on a purchased stand-alone adaptor?
...and they could likely just flash the iPod and start over from the beginning?

I suppose it could be a secuity OPTION, where you could choose to make it only charge from your computer, but again... isn't the purpose of flashing your machine to manufacturer's defaults to be able to undo any of those changes you regret making, to give it a complete rebirth?

At&t cutoff? (1)

mrshowtime (562809) | more than 7 years ago | (#20016359)

Has anyone actually tried to get out of their contract with At&t after getting an Iphone yet? Will it still work as an Ipod after the sim card is deactivated? How long till someone hacks the software and starts holding people's Iphone's hostage for a fee?

It's already been done and legally challenged... (1)

whatme (997566) | more than 7 years ago | (#20016379)

I think Apple might run into some anti-competitive issues with this one. Recall that the ink-jet printer industry got into big trouble with the 3rd party (read 'clone') cartridges not working because they needed to be specially chipped. They attempted to sue some suppliers that copied some of the ID codes, but were denied. Since people will want other ways to charge their devices besides an Apple made charger, I think this mode of bricking would be hard to enforce.

On the other hand, the simple fact that the software wouldn't let you actually LOAD any new songs onto the iPod might be sufficient deterrent, but that is a separate protection mechanism.

What happens (1)

phalse phace (454635) | more than 7 years ago | (#20016381)

if I sell my iPod to someone, or if I buy a used iPod off someone on Craigslist, eBay, etc.?

Call me a cynic, but maybe Apple wants to prevent the resale of iPods also, thus more $$$ for them.
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