For lucky jerks
If you've got an aftermarket head unit capable of linking directly to an iPod or MP3 player, then it's probably already cost you about $200 or more. If you've got a factory installed head unit that supports an iPod or MP3 player via "auxiliary out", then you are a lucky jerk.
Auxiliary out linkage is really quite simple. If you have a head unit with a tiny headphone-sized output labeled "AUX", then all you need to connect your MP3 player is a headphone-to-headphone cable. These cost about $10 or less at any big box electronics store, and when connected offer unparalleled sound quality. Really, the only limit to the clarity of your audio is the bit rate at which you downloaded the original music file.
If you love your MP3 player or iPod and are in the market for a new vehicle, here are some of the car manufacturers that provide stereos with auxiliary out units:
In addition, there are obviously a wide range of aftermarket brands that support the iPod and MP3 playback.
- Harmen Kardon
- VAIS Technology
- Smart Park
Despite the fact that few manufacturers are missing from this impressive list, not all models support the iPod. For example, although Nissan is listed, only its higher-end versions (such as the Sentra's SE-R and V-Spec) support the iPod via Rockford Fosgate audio. Make sure to check with each manufacturer before simply assuming that the make of car you're interested in supports MP3 connection and has an auxiliary out port.
It's very clear, however, that there will be a close relationship between automobile makers and Apple in the future. In August it was announced that Ford, General Motors, and Mazda had all struck deals with iPod's maker, meaning that many (more) models will include easy MP3 linkups in 2007 and beyond. The extent of the iPod support isn't nearly as exclusive as it has been in the past (with the option limited to high-end models), but will instead be available in most of Ford and GM's future rides. Mazda is actually providing support for the iPod in all of its future vehicles.
So, don't be too jealous of those lucky jerks who need only buy a $10 headphone-to-headphone jack in order to link up with their iPod. Even if your current ride doesn't support this feature, your next one probably will.