Apple is teaming up with GM, Ford, and Mazda to offer iPod integration in those manufacturers' vehicles for the 2007 model year. The partnerships--announced to CNET Car Tech this morning by Greg Joswiak, Apple's vice president of worldwide iPod product marketing--will mean that iPod connectors will come as options on all 56 GM models, all Mazda models, and most Ford models.
GM and Ford are expected to begin offering iPod support on their U.S. models later this year, while Mazda will offer integration on its entire global 2007 lineup. The new partnerships mean that iPod integration will be available in 70 percent of new vehicles in the United States for the 2007 model year, according to Joswiak, who said that iPod integration represented the "natural progression of audio in cars."
As with existing iPod partners, such as BMW and Acura, the new partners will offer glove box-mounted connectors to enable iPods to be simultaneously charged and navigated and controlled via the car's stereo or steering wheel buttons. According to Nancy Phillipart, GM's executive director of accessories, the iPod connectors will be offered as dealer-installed options at a price point of around $160 plus installation charges, and will only be available on cars with XM Satellite Radio modules. News.com has more details on how Ford and Mazda will handle the integration in its full story here.
Note: our original report said that iPod integration would be a factory-installed option: we've subsequently learned from GM and Ford that it will be dealer-installed.