Despite the lack of any kind of half decent upgrade to the iPod range in almost two years the brand remains remarkably desirable – especially to thieves, so Apple has decided to do something about it.
The company has filed a patent which would make it (and presumably all future ranges of iPhones, nanos, etc) incompatible with any charger other than its own – or ones it was specifically paired with. In effect this would mean thieves know any device they steal will be nothing more than a scratch prone shiny brick in the time it takes for the battery to run down.
Clever? Well kinda. I personally think this type of technology cuts both ways. Thieves are the quickest group to ever 'hack' anything and secondly one of the great advantages about the ubiquity of Apple devices is that they can be taken to a friend's house or even a colleagues workstation and hooked up if you run low on juice or wish to exchange files.
Consequently we could end up in a situation where users either have to a) implement a strict daily recharge regime to avoid being left in the lurch, b) carry a bulky charger everywhere they go, or c) buy and authorise multiple chargers to be left at home/in the office, etc (ker-ching Apple).
Personally, I think there are two more obvious solutions to the problem of theft: 1. Show greater social awareness and 2. Bin those useless rob me now white earphones for a decent pair of black Sure's. After all, the thieves don't know you have an iPod unless you advertise you're an acoustic luddite...