Apple iPod shuffle secret revealed: inspection shows five extra contacts on USB plug

“Close inspection of the [Apple iPod shuffle’s] USB plug reveals that there is something going on here… A normal USB plug has 4 contacts (5 counting the shield), but this one seems to have 5 extra,” Chipmunk International reports on a page they have posted that shows an iPod shuffle’s dissection. “There seems so be a secret extra something built into the iPod shuffle that can interface via the extra contacts hidden in the USB plug… This iPod shuffle is brand new and has not been plugged into anything since leaving the factory. Yet the middle of the 5 extra contacts has clearly been used. So whatever it is, the manufacturer is using the middle pin in the factory.”

Full article, with images here.

MacDailyNews Take: Calling all USB experts plug design experts! Any ideas and/or explanations?



  1. After checking my USB inputs (female connectors) none of them have a middle pin that would connect to this mysterious fifth pin in the shuffle anyway. Maybe it’s for a Grifin iLCDScreen, or some mysterious connection yet to be reveiled.

  2. I know, I know!!!! Steve has inserted a secret harware/spyware that will call Apple everytime you plug in the shuffle and tell him what you have been listening to and how many time the shuffle has been jolted, allowing him to tell if you have been doing the horizontal bop while listening to your fav tunes, thus allowing Apple to target the appropriate market for the new (and yet unannounced) iPod iNteruptus. The new device will play your favorite love tunes throughout the deed until the point of, well, climax, then it will shuffle to a Dave Matthews tune and you will immediately loose the urge. Brilliant!!!!

    iSteve for Surgeon General.

    Magic word = “planning”, get it?

  3. The fifth pin is probably a testing interface to an LCD to check the unit prior to shipping. The others are for possible 3rd party divices yet to be produced (iRadio, memory expansion, vehicle ports, etc)…

  4. I would really like it if these were outputs, either digital or analog. I would love for a car audio company to put out a head unit that lets you easily pop/eject an iPod shuffle right into the dash. You can currently use the shuffle via RF or miniplug, but these cables are larger than the shuffle itself.

    Alpine, Aiwa…AC Delco?

  5. I don’t have a shuffle yet and so am not sure how it all works. Can you normally play music thru the USB like you can thru the dock connector in an iPod? If that is not a function yet maybe they are planning on having it so you could like just plug it into your car stereo and charge and play at the same time. No car stereos have this kind of connector yet but Apple could be anticipating.

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