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The iPodization of the open road

As a result of this new deal, the Apple iPod will be compatible with more than 70 percent of the new 2007 model vehicles sold in the United States.

Note especially this:

Ford said Thursday it will offer the iPod integration as a dealer-installed option called “TripTunes Advanced.” An adapter that doubles as a battery-charging station would go in either the glove box or center storage console. Users would then be able to control the iPod through buttons on the steering wheel or the radio. Playlists, artists, and other song information will also be displayed on the cars’ systems. In addition, Ford plans to add auxiliary audio input jacks on nearly half of its lineup, starting this fall. Tunes from any gadget — iPods, other MP3 or CD music players, cell phones and game handhelds — will then be playable on the cars’ audio systems without the need for extra adapters or FM transmitters.

The first paragraph describes what is obviously an “option” – meaning it has a pricetag. The second, however, describes a simple input jack, which can only be standard equipment – meaning it’s part of every car for free.

It is the standards you need to worry about most, not the options.

I don’t know about you, but the idea of playing my iPod directly through my car radio via a jack beats attaching ear buds or fiddling with an FM transmitter unit (at least for me).

This is a BIG advancement in the iPodization of the open road and certainly a substitute for at least some of the listening that would otherwise be devoted to radio (not to mention CD’s).

As an aside, this same article notes…

…more than 90 percent of Ford and Lincoln Mercury cars will offer satellite radio by the 2008 model year.

Again, this is an option, not a standard, but the choice of satellite or no satellite will be virtually universal about twelve months from now.

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