August 3, 2006 8:18 AM PDT

Carmakers race to accommodate iPods

Apple Computer has partnered with Ford Motor, General Motors, and Mazda Motor to help drivers integrate their iPods into their cars' audio systems.

Owners of Ford, Mazda and GM cars who want to take their iPods on the road may no longer have to worry about purchasing quirky add-ons like the iTrip or chargers that plug into cigarette lighters. Apple announced on Thursday that it has teamed up with the three car companies to incorporate "seamless integration" into new 2007 models that will let iPods be controlled within cars' audio systems and charged whenever the ignition is on.

iPod in your car console

An internal study by Ford determined that the demand for incorporating digital audio players into consumer vehicles is rising fast: The auto manufacturer predicts that 2009 sales of digital-music players will more than double those in 2005. The market for such devices, despite competition, remains thoroughly dominated by Apple's iPod.

The plans and infrastructure for iPod integration differ among the three manufacturers. Ford, for example, will be incorporating audio input jacks compatible with the iPod and other MP3 players into a majority of 2007 Ford, Lincoln and Mercury models. For an additional price, beginning early next year, Ford dealers plan to begin selling a system called TripTunes Advanced that will enable an iPod to be stored and recharged in a vehicle's glove compartment while the driver or passenger directs its functions using controls on the radio or steering wheel.

GM, on the other hand, has developed an iPod-specific device called the Personal Audio Link. This gadget, the size of a deck of cards, synchronizes the music player with the car's XM Satellite Radio band so that the XM interface can be used as controls--including displaying the song and artist information on the XM screen.

Like Ford's TripTunes Advanced, GM's iPod integration system will be located in the glove compartment and will also be able to charge the iPod while the ignition is running. The Personal Audio Link will make its debut this October in the 2006 and 2007 Chevrolet HHR sport utility vehicles; the carmaker will then gradually introduce the hardware into all 56 of its new car and truck models sold in the United States--mostly by the end of 2007.

GM's device will be an opt-in feature, retailing for about $160 plus installation charges. According to a statement from GM, a subscription to XM Satellite Radio will not be required for the Personal Audio Link to work.

Mazda, which will be introducing iPod integration into all of its vehicles worldwide, was not available for a comment on the specifics of the technology used.

A number of other car manufacturers, both domestic and foreign, have already accommodated some or all of their new models to allow for iPod integration--among them are DaimlerChrysler's Jeep, Volkswagen, BMW and its Mini, and Honda Motor. With the addition of Ford, Mazda and GM, Apple estimates that more than 70 percent of new cars sold in the United States by the end of 2007 will have some kind of iPod integration technology.

See more CNET content tagged:
Mazda Motor Corp., General Motors, Ford, carmaker, XM Satellite Radio


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Zune and Apple
Zune has not even been released yet, and Apple is already expanding their dominance into all major cars models. By the time Zune catches up, IF, then so what, Apple will already be in things that Microsoft hasn't even thought of up yet.

I love my iPod Video, I dropped it on a concreet floor once by accident from 5 feet and nothing, still works perfectly, had my iPod for a year now.

I got the 60 and 30 gig Video models, both work beautifully.
Posted by rmiecznik (224 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Windows Automotive....
Microsoft has a better solution that this! It's called Windows Automotive. It can manage everything from GPS, phone calls and address book to digital entertainment. Supports voice commands too. And it's already available preinstalled or as an upgrade. Now that's some innovation!
Posted by ggupta7 (137 comments )
Link Flag
excuse me, apple boy.
an audio input is not an apple exclusive. just because auto makers are including components to all for MP3 players, does not man apple is gaining any domanance.

your response is typicle apple arrogance. creative labs invented the hard drive MP3 player remember.
Posted by zeeboid (92 comments )
Link Flag
Another MP3 player?
By the time Zune gets released Apple will release a new version of iPod.
But my main question is DRM. Could Zune be DRM free? We all know that Microsoft doesn't give freebies and they like to mess a bit (?) with the competition. I wouldn't be surprised if they implement a DRM similar to Sony (nasty). You know the story they tell us - blame the record companies.
Befor Zune gets to iPod, MS will have to fight against Sony, Samsung, Creative, and Scandisk. After that they have to fight online music stores that are like starbucks (they are everywhere).
I'm not betting on Zune because I haven't seen it yet and if it's just another MP3 player than who cares ? At the moment I use iPods for work and home; and for my car I use GoGear (Philips) because it's DRM free.
Posted by domino360 (41 comments )
Link Flag
Big Deal!
Car makers don't give a rat's behind for things like gas mileage but they sure as hell want to make sure their cars are all decked out with the latest gadgets.
And if consumers insist on these things over fuel efficiency they deserve the gas guzzling monsters they get.
Posted by gdmaclew (158 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Yes I agree with you. Car makers should concentrate on getting more miles per gallon or using replacement technologies.

Our Earth can be easily saved - all you need to do is have Farmers growing HEMP AGAIN. It's a weed plant that has no THC, but produces plenty of Fiber and oils "FAST" that could be converted into bio- diesel and other things, much better then stupid CORN.

Too bad for stupid government and stupid/old farts that lost 1/2 of their brain, hopefully the younger generation that will replace these people when they die, will use their brain.
Posted by rmiecznik (224 comments )
Link Flag
Start growing HEMP
HEMP = plenty of Fiber and Oils, and HEMP doesn't need tons of nutients, like other crops. Grows super fast, and produces a lot of goodness.

I am not talking about weed that you smoke and get high.

HEMP is the only plant capable of saving this planet.
Posted by rmiecznik (224 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Grow Brains instead
Brains are the only thing to save the planet. But hemp will help, but what is my family going to do with hundreds of pounds of hemp. If companies started growing hemp, well that might actually help tho.
Posted by jaystring (12 comments )
Link Flag
too efficient
Hemp is too efficient, which makes it a bad match for a bloated system like Windows.
Posted by Jackson Cracker (272 comments )
Link Flag
I see Porsche is still holding out
Of course, if Porsche can't provide their [i]own[/i] acronym for whatever system they choose to integrate with--iPod, Zen, Zune, whatever--it simply won't happen. Fine by me.

A current age Porsche (similar can be said for most any German car these days) not loaded up for bear with endless, head-scratching acronyms...jus' ain't a Porsche.
Posted by make_or_break (3747 comments )
Reply Link Flag
In-dash mp3
I dont see why they just dont build a MP3 player right into the dashboard.

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Posted by isodork (13 comments )
Reply Link Flag
That's what im saying... It doesnt make logical sense, but it makes dollars
Apple has managed to brain wash the entire world into buying iPods. Really, I mean They charge hundreds of dollars for a Average hard drive and a LCD Screen. It's not worth the money.

But Since their the only provider that has a global market for Consumers for their Operating System, they have basically dwindled everyone into thinking the only way you can Move Around with Your Music Files is by having one of those Rectangular Black/White Things.

Hopefully their are some Developers who are cooking up something that will KNOCK the Ipod off the MAP.
Posted by clamarai (7 comments )
Link Flag
Not Just iPods, Please
I'd rather see DC power plugs and auxiliary audio inputs become standard features in new cars. These would be much cheaper and let you use any portable music player, DVD player, or portable PC. Using standard connections common to all electronic audio devices would also prolong their usefulness. By the time the car companies get around to selling these ipod-specific enhancements, Apple will probably be selling new models that require buying more special adapters to fit your car all over again.
Posted by annanemas (79 comments )
Reply Link Flag
supply and demand
these car companies are (if a little slowly) simply reacting to
consumer demand. No one wants to have to rip out their new
CD player in a brand new car to get to some wiring behind it so
that they can get some add on. No one really wants to listent to
their ipod over a crackly radio station. If they wanted that, they
would have stuck with the radio!
People want to be able to plug their ipods straight into
something that 'just works'! If you look a little closer at the
article, some of these companies are simply adding a 3.5 mm
jack plug that is compatible with all mp3 players. That should
suit all those that have creative oor zune or ipods.
I applaud the car companies for doing this as it is a consumer
driven response.
With regard to the comments about not caring for the
environment, producing gas guzzling cars etc, these same
companies are noticing that with gas prices at around the $3/gal
mark, they are getting harder and harder to sell.
Several new models have been released in the USA that are
available elsewhere that are being aggressively sold based on
their mpg performance. Again, supply and demand.
I assure you that anyone that doesnt have more money than
sense is going to choose a vehicle that only gets 15mpg because
it comes with an ipod jack over a more efficient vehicle that
doesnt. If that is the choice they make, then I wish them luck
and councelling!
Posted by yikes31 (71 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Re: supply and demand
I think you hit the nail on the head. Six months ago, a friend of
mine bought a Honda Element. He selected it over all their other
models mainly because it was the only one that included an
audio input jack for his MP3 player.

I would like to see radio options go one step further...

Option 1: An in-dash radio that can accept my iPod just like it
would a CD or casette.

Option 2: An in-dash radio that *is* an iPod. When parked in my
driveway, it would automatically sync back to iTunes (on my
computer) over bluetooth.

For both optios, I want to be able to listen to my music over the
radio and let rear-seat passengers view videos/photos on the
car's DVD player screen. I want to be control the iPod using
steering wheel controls and a heads-up display (like already
offered on some Pontiacs).

The first car company that provides this will have my business.
Posted by open-mind (1027 comments )
Link Flag

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