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Even as suppliers ship their first iPod adapters for the car, many are learning that the adapters will not work with Apple's newest flash-memory-based iPod, called the “Shuffle.”
The Shuffle was introduced in January and is the least expensive of the iPod family, starting at $99 suggested retail price.
While both aftermarket and OEM companies have raced to offer iPod adapters for their car radios in the past six months, none of these adapters will work with the new Shuffle, suppliers told TWICE. The Shuffle uses a USB 2.0 port for connectivity rather than the standard iPod 30-pin connector, they explained.
Alpine's marketing VP Steve Witt confirmed, “It's a bit of a hassle.” The company is working on a new Shuffle interface with a USB connector, and said the earliest it could offer the product is early 2006. Alpine has not yet decided if it will offer a universal adapter to accommodate both USB and 30-pin iPods or separate adapters.
Witt noted it is possible that Apple may switch other future iPods over to USB. “There are some advantages USB 2.0 can realize — higher transfer speeds and data rates, and it has become a de-facto universal connector for devices in the digital world.”
Apple did not respond to a TWICE inquiry.
Alpine said its current iPod kit KCA 420i is exceeding sales forecasts by about 20 percent.
Blitz Safe said it is also working on a new USB compatible kit, and Kenwood said it is investigating an approach to the new Shuffle.
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.