special event at San Francisco’s Moscone Center
on Wednesday Apple announced Acura, Audi, Honda and Volkswagen will all support iPod integration with their car stereos for 2006 model lines. The Honda and Acura Music Link iPod integrations will be the first to include text-to-speech capabilities or VoiceID, which is used to search for playlists, artist and album names or genre information on the fly. This brings the total number of car companies offering iPod integration to 15.
“Car companies are embracing the iPod, and over 30 percent of the cars sold in the US in 2006 will offer iPod integration,” said Apple vice president of Worldwide iPod Product Marketing Greg Joswiak.
Perhaps anticipating customers might want to listen to something other than music whie stuck in traffic, Apple also announced that the entire Harry Potter audiobook series is available for the first time, offered exclusively on the iTunes Music Store. Customers can either download individual audiobooks or the complete Harry Potter Digital Box Set which includes a full color digital booklet as well as previously unreleased readings from author J.K. Rowling. Harry Potter fans can also purchase the complete Harry Potter Digital Box Set together with a Collector’s Edition 20GB iPod engraved with the Hogwarts crest. Prices range from from $32.95 to $49.95 for individual books, while the Harry Potter Digital Box Set is $249.
“We are honored that J.K. Rowling has picked iTunes for the debut of the Harry Potter audiobook series,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “We’re delighted to be able to bring these wonderful and wildly popular stories to iTunes Music Store customers.”
Apple also announced today that there are now more than 1,000 accessories made specifically for iPod, with another 700 products bearing the Made for iPod logo on the market or in development. Apple uses the designation to indicate products designed specifically to connect to and iPod that have been certified by the developer to meet Apple performance standards.