By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Products witih iPod capability continue to sweep through the autosound market, with additional suppliers offering adapters and retailers reporting favorable sales.
Brands including Audiobahn, Blaupunkt and OEM integrators BlitzSafe and Peripheral announced new adapters to ship this half in addition to new adaptors announced from Alpine, Clarion, Dual, Kenwood, Pioneer and others (See TWICE, 01/06/05, p. 12). Almost all of the iPod adapters allow the car radio's controls to also control the iPod.
BlitzSafe claims its iPod adapter is the most sophisticated in that it can scroll through iPod song and artist information “almost as fast as using the jog wheel on the iPod itself,” according to president/CEO Ira Marlowe.
Marlowe said current adapters that display song and artist information on the radio are unusually slow. “You can only track up five or 10 songs at a time. If you have a lot of songs, you can be there for an indefinite period of time trying to get to the music you want to listen to,” said Marlowe.
The BlitzSafe adapter, called the mLink, can plug into the radio's CD or satellite radio port or it can be used with specific optional interfaces (suck as Ford to an iPod or a Ford to a Creative Nomad). Blitz Safe hopes to offer the m-Link by April at approximately $99.
Blaupunkt said it expects to deliver an adapter this spring but gave no further details. Audiobahn plans to ship two CD receivers that allow a direct connection with an Apple iPod. The A1250 shows the iPod song and artist information on the CD receiver's display. The A1250N is also XM-ready with MP3 and will ship in March at $269.99. An additional model, the A1200N, at $229.99, will also offer a direct iPod connection, said the company.
Peripheral will ship at the end of February a second-generation iPod adapter compatible with all factory radios that have a satellite radio input. With this product, the iPod display shuts off and all the text is displayed on the factory head unit. It ships in the form of a universal interface with changeable dipswitches. The user then buys a cable, specific to his type of car.
Another similar solution will also be available for aftermarket radios, with both kits expected to carry a suggested price of $189.95 and additional cables to sell at approximately $19.95.
Crutchfield said the the category is selling “very well” and president of Custom Sounds, Austin, Texas, Michael Cofield said, “We're selling the iPod adapters like they are going out of style. We're carrying Alpine and will be expanding brands that can offer the iPod capability.”
Audio Express, Scottsdale, Ariz., said “they are selling okay,” according to purchasing manager Paul Gosswiller.
Car Toys, Seattle, said it has made a “major commitment to iPod in vehicle accessories. We spent a lot of time at CES reviewing alternatives, and due to the popularity of those currently carried, expect to double our mix,” said merchandising VP Jim Warren.
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