Just spoke with Apple, and confirmed there’s no authentication or DRM in the iPod Shuffle’s headphones. There is a license fee, as part of the “made for iPod” accessory logo that applies to lots of devices and accessories for vendors who want to make headphones that work with the new Shuffle. That includes access to the necessary schematics, controls etc to make it all work. Same as if you were building a dock connector for an iPod or a car kit for the iPhone.
Nothing new here and nothing insidious IMHO.