Friday, August 11, 2006

Apple announces partnership with Ford, GM, Mazda

Apple announces partnership with Ford, GM, Mazda

Apple today announced it has teamed up with Ford, General Motors and Mazda to deliver seamless iPod integration across the majority of their brands and models, making it easy for iPod users to listen to and control their iPod through their car’s stereo system. So-called "integration" is superior to a regular line-in or FM transmitter because it allows the driver to use the stereo controls on the steering wheel or dash to control the iPod (changing tracks, and so on). With the addition of these models, more than 70 percent of 2007-model U.S. automobiles will offer iPod integration. Notably, GM will make the technology available on all of its 56 vehicles.

"We're delighted that Ford, General Motors and Mazda will support iPod connectivity in nearly all of their new models," said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s vice president of Worldwide iPod Product Marketing. "Now more than 70 percent of 2007-model U.S. automobiles will offer iPod integration, with General Motors alone making it available on all 56 of its models, representing millions of cars and trucks."

Ford and General Motors will feature iPod integration in the majority of their 2007 models in the U.S. beginning later this year, while Mazda’s entire global 2007 lineup of cars and SUVs will offer iPod connectivity. iPod offerings for Ford, General Motors and Mazda provide drivers with outstanding sound quality while charging the iPod, while conveniently storing the iPod in the glove compartment. Seamless iPod integration also allows drivers to use their car’s multifunction controls to select their music using artist, album, playlist or shuffle songs, as well as to easily skip between tracks and playlists.

GM's "Personal Audio Link" in detail

GM has also released specific details on its integration package. The device, called "Personal Audio Link," will sell at GM dealerships for less than $160 at MSRP, plus installation. It will be introduced in October on 2006 and 2007 model year Chevrolet HHRs, already one of the industry's most personalized vehicles, with more GM vehicles scheduled to be added by the end of this year. Designed specifically for the iPod, GM expects to make the device available on all of its 56 vehicle models – mostly by the end of 2007 – meaning GM will offer the widest range of vehicle applications for iPod integration in the industry.

"We understand that people want to use their iPod whenever and wherever they want," said Mike Jackson, GM North America vice president, Marketing & Advertising. "We're thrilled to offer an awesome, seamless digital music experience to our customers across our entire portfolio of great cars and trucks."

Vehicle personalization is embedded in today's vehicle purchase and ownership experience. Nancy Philippart, executive director, GM Accessories, believes that iPod and GM vehicle personalization are a perfect fit.

"With our simple, affordable system, our customers can plug their iPod into their vehicle audio system and get what they want – clear, quality sound as well as access to playlists and artists' names," said Philippart. "Because the Personal Audio Link was designed specifically for GM vehicles, the level of integration our system offers is unmatched in the market."

The Personal Audio Link iPod adapter, about the size of a deck of cards and not visible to the customer once installed, uses existing radio software, and is integrated through the radio's digital XM Satellite Radio band. (XM does not need to be activated for the system to work.) This provides improved sound over FM modulated systems, and better control and display over FM modulated and CD changer interface units.

The system displays song artist, title and genre on the radio display, and allows song selection by genre, playlist, artist and album. In addition, Podcasts and audio books are no problem. Personal Audio Link enables the user to store, sort and select their favorite Podcast or audio book by title. In vehicles equipped with steering wheel audio controls, those controls will also control volume.

Once the device is installed, the customer plugs the iPod into an interface cable in the glove box, where the player can be safely secured and stowed. The device also charges the iPod while the vehicle is operating.

"We know our music-loving customers have been clamoring for a system like this, but we were determined not to go into the market with one unless it was truly integrated, easy to use and affordable," said Philippart. "I think this system will be music to our customers' ears."

Seamlessly connects an iPod to the vehicle's factory installed audio system

Charges iPod when ignition is on

Choose from English, Spanish or French language for function displays

Search and display music by genre, playlist, album, artist

Use seek function to move forward or reverse within a song for up to 15 seconds

Select "shuffle" function to mix music

Sort music using "alphabetical jump" from A-Z list

Sort and select Podcasts and audio books by title

Control volume from steering wheel controls

Personalize text display in dynamic mode (radio display scrolls through artist, album, title, song, time remaining, etc.) or static mode (fixed on one display element such as artist)

Perform fast music searches using high-speed text display technology

Ford's approach

For the 2007-model year, built-in auxiliary audio-input jacks will be offered on the Ford Edge, Explorer, Expedition, Mustang, Fusion, Sport Trac, Ranger, F-150, Mercury Milan, Mountaineer, Lincoln MKX, Lincoln MKZ, Navigator and Lincoln Mark LT. The jacks allow customers to bring any iPod or other MP3 player with a standard 3.5 millimeter audio output into their vehicle and play it through the audio system.

In addition, early next year, Ford and Lincoln Mercury dealers throughout the U.S. will begin offering Ford’s TripTunes Advanced audio system – an iPod integration feature that provides drivers with top sound quality and recharging at the same time. TripTunes Advanced allows the driver to store the iPod in the vehicle’s glove box and select music using the steering wheel or radio controls – including shuffling songs and skipping between tracks and playlists.

“The iPod has been a huge hit, and we at Ford wanted to develop a way for people to bring the device into their Ford, Lincoln or Mercury vehicle without having to fuss with the device while driving,” said Doug VanDagens, director of Ford’s product and business development for electronics. “What we’ve accomplished with the integration of the iPod into our vehicles is just one piece of a much broader effort at Ford Motor Company to respond to customer trends more quickly.”


The manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) is JPY 23,100 (including installation fee and consumption tax) in Japan.

Connected by a special adaptor to the car audio system, music can be played without compromising the iPod's clear sound quality.

Owners can switch to the music menu, play songs at random and control the volume with the switches on the car's original, factory-installed Mazda audio system.

If the steering wheel has audio control switches, the driver can control the volume and select tunes without taking his or her hands off the wheel.

Once connected, the iPod is stowed securely in the glove compartment where it is charged.

Operation must be done through the audio system, not using the iPod. Track information, such as the artist or album name is not displayed on the audio system.
The adapter is compatible with the iPod models with a Dock connector including the third-generation iPod or later, iPod mini and iPod nano. It is not compatible with iPod shuffle.

Filed in "Mazda, General Motors, Ford",

All contents copyright Leftlane News 2006. Branding + Design:


Post a Comment

<< Home