Apple today announced that it has partnered with Ford, General Motors and Mazda to deliver iPod integration “across the majority of their brands and models, making it easy for iPod users to enjoy and control their iPod’s high-quality sound through their car’s stereo system.” With the addition of these models, Apple said more than 70 percent of 2007-model U.S. automobiles will offer iPod integration. Ford and GM will offer iPod connectivity in “the majority of their 2007 models” beginning later this year, while Mazda’s entire 2007 lineup will be iPod-ready. The iPod integration consists of built-in auxiliary audio-input jacks in some models and direct-connect options for others. Apple said iPod kits will offer a direct connection to a car’s stereo, glove compartment storage, iPod charging, and the ability to select and play music using a car’s multifunction controls.
Update: Ford has now issued its own press release announcing the iPod integration, and details its plans for a “TripTunes” iPod solution. From the company’s announcement:
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.