There's an interesting article over on engadget.com about "tethering". Tethering is where one product is tied into another, one example given is the little packets of coffee for use in a certain coffee maker.
So we looked on with enthusiasm at the new pressurized personal coffee makers. They push hot water through a sealed “pod” filled with a precise measure of coffee. It was neat, slick, well-designed, and promised a strong, good, dependable dose. It’s the same technology that supplies those surprisingly good coffee available from coin machines in public spaces in Europe.
After a half-hour of debating the pros and cons of such a radical “format shift,” we left without one of these cool new machines. We opted out because these specialized “pods” are essentially “tethered” to this brand of coffee maker. [engadget.com]
The author goes on to mention other devices that are tethered in this way (or becoming tethered) such as printers makers and garage-door opener companies. He also talks about the whole Apple vs Real situation and how it is becoming another example of this. I personally think Apple is blowing it. As much as I'm not a fan of Real this doesn't seem like that big a deal to me.