Following an exclusive pre-Macworld Expo interview with Griffin Technology representatives Chris Heric and Sharp Emmons, iLounge was blown away by the company’s new SmartDeck audio cassette adapter ($24.99) – a patent pending in-car solution for iPods that both transmits an iPod’s music to a car stereo and permits that stereo’s existing controls to operate the iPod. SmartDeck will ship in the second quarter of this year.
White in color and otherwise externally almost identical to Sony’s CPA-9C cassette adapter, the SmartDeck connects to an iPod’s headphone jack and four-pin top accessory port with a single white cable, and is inserted into a car’s cassette tape player to enable inexpensive and clean iPod-to-stereo audio transmission. However, SmartDeck differs internally from the CPA-9C and less reliable competitors, using optical technology to map the stereo’s fast forward, rewind, and other buttons to the iPod’s internal controls. Moreover, Griffin’s engineering representative promised that the product would outperform Sony’s adapter – our benchmark for reliability – in performance and longevity. As Sony’s adapter shames low-end products made by companies such as Coby, we can’t help but be excited for its potential.
Given its inexpensive price, seemingly great audio quality and certain utility to millions of iPod owners, Griffin’s SmartDeck is the single most important product we’ve seen thus far before Macworld Expo. If the finished product delivers on Griffin’s promises – and on time – it will be a must-have accessory for iPod owners with in-car cassette decks. Click on Read More for a higher-resolution photograph, and expect additional information in the days to come.