FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Monday, September 26, 2005

Love Me, Love My iPod

Is a car or home stereo that's compatible with iPods meeting a growing customer demand, or is it just cool? Does the distinction really matter?

BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, Ferrari and other luxury nameplates are leading the way in adding jacks so drivers can listen to their iPods on the road. Chevy is also getting in on the act, as will surely many (if not most) other car makes. High-end stereo maker Denton is including iPod jacks in its units as well. (Considering how long the iPod has been on the market, my initial response to this was, "What took you so long?")

Of course, iPod users have always been able to listen to their favorite tunes in their cars via cassette deck adapters and FM transmitters... for a lot less than many of these car makers are charging for their adapters. And the ultimate in adaptation would be to enable both iPods and host devices with Bluetooth for wireless connectivity.

The method of connection, though, is perhaps less important than the mere fact that a connection is there. Making a product iPod-aware says that both the product and its manufacturer (and, by extension, the consumer) are hip, high-tech and forward-looking. Adding jacks to cars and stereos simply makes sense, owing to the growing legion of iPod owners. If making products iPod-friendly is measurably tied to increased sales, expect other makers of MP3 players to aggresively pursue connectivity deals with manufacturers.

We could be seeing the beginning of a hype cycle here. Remember a couple of years back, when weird and largely useless USB devices were all the rage? The question now is, what are some of the silly places iPod adapters are likely to turn up now?

Source: Ubercool