updated 04:20 pm EDT, Mon October 24, 2005
Autobytel \"iPod Center\"
A recent Autobytel online survey found that 81 percent of respondents said they, or someone in their family, owns an iPod, yet only one-third of these iPod users said they've been able to use it successfully in their vehicle. In response to this, Autobytel.com has launched an "" featuring tips on the various iPod integration options on the market, a step-by-step installation video, and more. Autobytel's Auto Information Center (AIC) reports that there are 12 times as many 2006 models with MP3 capability as there were in 2003, and that there are currently 598 new models featuring MP3 player capabilities on the market.
While MP3 plug-ins (which make it simple to play an iPod) are quickly becoming mainstream vehicle equipment, the vast majority of current drivers who don't own brand-new vehicles are finding it difficult to "retrofit" their cars -- using either cassette -- or radio-based adapters -- to support iPod usage.
When Autobytel.com asked iPod owners if they've been able to use the device in their vehicles, only 33 percent replied that they've been able to use it "very successfully." The remaining two-thirds indicated that they were either unable to use their iPod in their vehicle (31 percent), or only somewhat successful in their efforts (36 percent). iPod owners said "the installation wasn't easy, and the results aren't great," and when asked to describe their experience of using -- or attempting to use -- an iPod in their car, the largest portion of respondents (37 percent) summed it up as "frustrating, iPods are not easy to install or use in cars."
Four percent of the online auto shoppers surveyed by Autobytel said the vehicle they drive most often is equipped with an MP3 plug-in, yet 75 percent of all survey respondents said that new vehicles should come equipped with an MP3 plug-in; and 78 percent claimed they'd be willing to pay extra for an option that provides easy-to-use iPod access in their vehicle.
The Autobytel.com iPod Center covers the pros and cons of the various iPod integration options on the market while offering advice on how to get the best results for the money in terms of sound quality, usability and ease of implementation. The iPod Center is also home to a video produced by Autobytel's CarTV, providing step-by-step installation instructions for a new product (the Neo Ion) that overcomes many the drawbacks associated with radio -- and cassette-based adapters. In-market car buyers can also access information on 10 vehicles (each under $25,000) that either come with iPod compatibility as a standard feature, or which require only minor upgrades to become iPod compatible.
Autobytel is also offering CarTV-produced podcasts which currently include a weekly automotive news desk, hands-on vehicle maintenance tips, and "hard-hitting" new vehicle reviews. The podcasts are available through Apple's iTunes and the new Yahoo podcast search channel, as well as from CarTV.com.