Cars are the most expensive iPod accessories: On the one hand, I was going to complain that all of this vehicle integration is for the iPod only, which means that users of other players are getting unfairly left out…but I suppose Apple users have been complaining about that same thing in the software market forever, haven’t they? Perhaps this is just their turn in the sun?
Apple estimates that 40 percent of cars sold in the U.S. this year will offer iPod integration.
Some iPod-ready autos put iPod-like playback controls right on the steering wheel or instrument panel, with the built-in stereo displaying the name of the current track.
Still, we’re starting to see my theory play out: Apple is becoming evil, just like Microsoft.
Apple exerts tight control over accessories for its music player through its “Made for iPod” licensing program. Dashboard integration with the iPod requires the ability to plug into the iPod’s special dock connector — and that, in turn, requires a license from Apple.
“Made for iPod” may be quite lucrative for Apple, with accessory makers reportedly paying 10 percent of the wholesale price of their wares for a license. Some observers have dubbed the license charge an “iPod tax.”
Actually, this is not evil, it’s just good business. But then how many things has Microsoft done that we can go back and redefine as “good business”?
The fact is, when a big business and a big ego (Gates or Jobs — doesn’t matter) owns a market, it will be exploited for profit. I just hope people are as quick to call Apple on it as they have been with Microsoft.