Apple revealed Thursday that it has inked deals with Ford Motor, General Motors and Mazda to integrate its iPod with OEM car sound systems. A simple plug-in interface will allow users to charge the iPod in the car, and to control the player with the car stereo's controls.
According to Apple, more than 70 percent of 2007-model vehicles in the U.S. will provide iPod integration, with GM offering the feature on all of its U.S. cars and trucks. Mazda will offer the feature worldwide in its cars and SUVs. Ford will roll out its version of iPod integration, called "TripTunes Advanced" early next year. GM's implementation, "Personal Audio Link," will debut in the Chevrolet HHR later this year, and should be available in all of GM's 56 models by the end of next year. GM will offer Personal Audio Link as a $160 (plus installation) option. No word as yet on the cost of Ford's TripTunes Advanced.
Our guess is that full iPod integration, like Ford's TripTunes Advanced feature, will roll out gradually for U.S. automakers, with many 2007 models making do with a simpler auxiliary audio input jack.
[Sources: Reuters, Ford, GM, Apple]