Apple said it is teaming with Ford, GM and Mazda to offer seamless iPod integration with car stereo systems. BMW and other automakers already offer such integration, and Apple estimated that more than 70% of 2007-model U.S. automobiles will offer iPod integration. The seamless connection will allow owners to store and charge their iPod in the glove compartment and use their car’s controls to select artist/album/playlist, shuffle songs or skip back and forth among those alternatives.
Ford said it plans to offer auxiliary audio input jacks in half of its 2007 model vehicles, beginning this summer. Next year it will offer an iPod charging/control system called “TripTunes.” Ford predicts that sales of iPods and other MP3 players will more than double between ’05 and ’09, from 57.7 million units to 132 million.
Ford also plans to double the number of models available with a DVD-based navigation system and quadruple the number of models equipped with SIRIUS satellite radio. By the 2008-model year, it expects to offer SIRIUS satellite in 90% of Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles.Starting this fall, GM will offer an iPod adapter called “Personal Audio Link,” ($160 MSRP plus installation) on all of its 56 vehicle models. The adapter, said to be about the size of a deck of cards, uses existing radio software and will be integrated through the radio’s digital XM Satellite Radio band, though an active subscription to XM will not be necessary. GM said the design should provide improved sound over FM modulated systems, and better control and display over FM modulated and CD changer interface units.