First Look: iKit AutoCon FM Transmitter + Car Charger


As much as we’d like to praise iKit’s latest accessory, the “FM Transmitter + Car Charger” AutoCon ($45), there’s a certain not-so-little problem that prevents this supposedly iPod-, iPhone-, and iPad-compatible device from being exactly what most people would expect it to be. The good news is that AutoCon is one of the more stylish FM transmitter designs we’ve seen, with fancy blue metallic plugs that connect the transmitter to the included black glossy car charging bulb and your iPod/iPhone/iPad. iKit has used a matching blue-backlit screen that it confusingly describes as “Multi-Touch,” indicating the current radio station with large, bright numbers alongside capacitive track, play/pause, and call start/end buttons that work one at a time to control those features on Apple’s devices. One side of the transmitter includes silver radio tuning buttons, and the back has a microphone hole for iPhone handsfree use. The bad news is that, like the “Multi-Touch” reference, the “Car Charger” claim isn’t quite right. AutoCon can’t recharge your device and work as an FM transmitter at the same time: there’s no Dock Connector, so the only thing it powers is the FM transmitter — you need to supply your own Apple USB charging cable (and/or a second charger and car power outlet) to provide power to both items simultaneously. Additionally, the screen’s button lights go out after a brief period of inactivity, so you won’t be able to see them in a dark car unless you play with the radio tuner to reactivate them. iKit has a nice enough idea and industrial design on its hands here, but the electronic execution could really use some rethinking.

First Look: iKit AutoCon FM Transmitter + Car Charger

First Look: iKit AutoCon FM Transmitter + Car Charger

First Look: iKit AutoCon FM Transmitter + Car Charger

First Look: iKit AutoCon FM Transmitter + Car Charger

Our Rating

Not Rated

Company and Price

Company: iKit


Model: AutoCon

Price: $45

Compatible: iPod, iPhone, iPad (2010)

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Jeremy Horwitz

Jeremy Horwitz was the Editor-in-Chief at iLounge. He has written over 5,000 articles and reviews for the website and is one of the most respected members of the Apple media. Horwitz has been following Apple since the release of the original iPod in 2001. He was one of the first reviewers to receive a pre-release unit of the device, and his review helped put iLounge on the map as a go-to source for Apple news.