Hidden among Apple CEO Steve Jobs' keynote speech at Macworld Expo San Francisco was a new programme that directly impacts the growing iPod ecosystem.

But Jobs didn't belabour the new scheme, dubbed the 'Made for iPod' programme. Under this scheme only authorized accessory manufacturers will be entitled to announce their products with Apple's 'Made for iPod' blessing.

iPod accessory retailers told Macworld: "A lot of our smaller manufacturers are concerned about this scheme. We think it will hurt their business. Apple's trying to muscle into the accessories market."

Sketchy scheme details stress some

The source also implied that using the scheme logo will necessitate a licensing fee be paid to Apple, but Macworld has been unable to assess the truth of this.

These concerns are echoed by Business Week, writing that companies in the sector fear that: "After watching the early development of the iPod accessory ecosystem, Apple will crash the party and make it harder for little companies like Speck to make a go of it."

iPodLounge, "was told that the Made for iPod badge was originally proposed as a potential royalty stream for Apple".

Quality mark

Apple's vice president of worldwide product marketing, Phil Schiller moved to reassure the expanding iPod add-on sector, telling Business Week that the intention of the scheme is to: "Formalize how accessory makers work with Apple - while also preventing consumers from getting stuck with knock-off products that don't perform as advertised".

While details of the scheme remain sketchy, the report reveals that it aims to formalize a way to ensure all iPod-focused electronic products work with Apple's music player. Accessories such as iPod cases are not included.

A spokesman for Belkin reassured Business Week: "There's nothing in this that threatens our business model."