First ‘Made For iPod’ accessory ships, program explained

pic The first iPod accessory to carry Apple’s new “Made for iPod” badge is now shipping; it’s Macally’s new IceTune stackable speaker system, which received a favorable initial preview from iLounge, and signals that Apple’s Made for iPod program is now getting off the ground. Several third-party accessory makers have confirmed to iLounge that their products are either now beginning to ship with the Made for iPod badge, or will be in the near future.

According to Apple, and as previously reported by iLounge, the Made for iPod program aims to help consumers choose iPod products that are compatible with and safe for their iPods. The program consists of guidelines and specifications that companies must follow when bringing accessories to market. Companies that join the program pay a licensing fee to Apple for use of the badge and access to authorized sources of iPod connector components.

“This is a very important logo for Macally to have on our packages because we at Macally work hard to meet all of Apple’s requirements and we hope to help strengthen and support the iPod brand,” Macally’s Adrian Chan told iLounge. “By seeing the Made for iPod logo on the package, consumers will be able to choose products that are acknowledged by Apple.”

Chan said that as part of the program Macally does extensive self-testing that includes “every aspect of charging and iPod functionality.” After the in-house testing, products are submitted to Apple for final review. The program appears to primarily be a self-certification process to meet guidelines published by Apple, whereby the accessory maker tests the product itself.

Click “Read more” for the rest of the article and a shot of the Made for iPod badge on the IceTune box.
Other iPod accessory manufacturers expressed support for the Made for iPod program. “We strongly support the program, both for ourselves and our customers,” Brian Van Harlingen, Director of Technology at Belkin told iLounge. “For our customers, it gives an assurance that the manufacturer has used due diligence to ensure that the products they produce are fully compatible with and safe for use with the iPod. This is important, because a person’s iPod is far more than a $300 MP3 player — it’s personal. For Belkin, we feel it will ensure that the market is not saturated with dangerous substandard products.” Van Harlingen said Belkin will begin manufacturing products with the badge on retail packaging within the next two weeks.

XtremeMac CEO Gary Bart said his company’s products bearing the new badge are in manufacturing now and will be shipping shortly. “XtremeMac is a strong supporter of Apple’s badging program,” Bart said. “We believe that customers prefer the security of knowing that connector based products are reliable and will function properly and, most importantly, not damage their iPod. The badging program validates the process we have followed all along and lets consumers know that our products are compatible and safe.”

At least one major maker of iPod accessories has chosen not to join the program. DVForge CEO Jack Campbell said that his company’s upcoming iPod accessories will not carry the Made for iPod badge, in part because he believes that DVForge can create add-ons of the same quality as those in the program, without being tied to Apple’s licensing requirements.

‘We have several iPod accessories coming up, and we’ve talked with Apple about the new Made for iPod program,” Campbell said. “Their stated goals appear admirable, as providing customers with assurance from the Mothership that certain electronic items work well with an iPod. However, the reality is that those of us who build these products already realize that our livelihoods are at stake. And, we actually do a good job of engineering the products, without Apple’s blessing.”

Expect a full review of Macally’s IceTune speakers shortly.


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