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Airlines may integrate iPod, iTunes

updated 12:55 pm EDT, Tue April 11, 2006

Airline iTunes integration

Apple has been in talks with Aircraft in-flight entertainment (IFE) system providers about the possibility of licensing iTunes software for airline systems, according to one report. The deal would allow passengers to download videos and music to iPods in-flight, while several airlines have requested building iPod docks into seatbacks, enabling passengers to browse the iTunes Music Store via the airline's IFE system before transferring music directly onto an MP3 player. Suppliers such as Panasonic and Thales are exploring various concepts to accommodate airline requests for an expansion of on-board applications, according to Flight International. "We've had lots of discussions with Apple," Brad Foreman, vice-president and in-flight systems general manager of Thales said. "The key is to get them to see the value of hosting iTunes on an aircraft. Is it a big enough market for them to be interested in? I'd try to do it tomorrow if they said yes."

by MacNN Staff





  1. varshad

    Joined: Dec 1969



    This blows my mind a little bit; some airlines have had on-demand video for a while. Why I would plug my ipod in, then pay money to watch a video on my 2 inch screen instead of pay no money to watch a video on the 7 inch screen that's in front of my face anyway I'm not sure. I suppose you'd have more choice, and Apple could make money on it. But does this mean airline entertainment will only be available to those with iPods in the future?

  1. diggler_downunder



    PodPower to the People

    This was leaked five months ago, December last year. Mobile Information, Communications and Entertainment ( It seems they figured out a clever way of bridging the 'last meter' between iTunes and the iPod inflight, which I expect is backed by Apple, part of a wider TICE strategy emanating beyond the radar of the old school IFE providers. According to industry insiders it's a robust solution with no hardware retrofit, no broadband wifi bottlenecks, no satellite dish strapped on top, so could become ubiquitous almost instantly. It seems the end-goal for IFE is not PC-anywhere thinking but world-leading content on-tap for the consumer, in-home, in-car, in-lounge as well as in-flight. Thales and Panasonic would do well to explore M&A opportunities in the wider TICE market because there's more to IFE than connectivity (and Connexion). Once consumers have the reigns, all bets are off.

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