A device that enables an iPod to work through an automobile's audio system. iPod car adapters are designed for iPods only; however, generic MP3 car adapters work with iPods as well. Any car adapter that uses the headset jack (analog out) for connection works with any digital music player or portable sound source (see MP3 car adapter).|
iPod-only adapters connect via the digital dock connector, which is a bi-directional port that can be used to not only deliver the music to an external system, but can be used to control the unit as well (see iPod dock).
Direct Connection Option
The best type of iPod adapter makes the iPod part of the car's entertainment system and plugs directly into the iPod's dock connector port. The buttons on the dashboard and steering wheel are used to control the iPod, and music track information is displayed on the car's built-in screen.
FM transmitters and cassette adapters provide two easy ways to attach an iPod by pretending to be a radio station and a tape cassette. The FM transmitter, also called an "FM modulator," retransmits the audio as an FM radio signal that is picked up by the car's antenna, while the cassette adapter uses a modified tape cassette.
This RoadTrip FM transmitter plugs into a power outlet and charges the iPod at the same time. FM transmitters send FM radio signals into the car's interior that are picked up by the car's FM antenna. The greater selection of FM channels, the better chance of finding an effective one, especially on long trips. (Image courtesy of Griffin Technology, www.griffintechnology.com)
Containing no tape inside, the SmartDeck adapter gets the digital music from the iPod, converts it to analog and directs magnetic signals to the tape head. The buttons on the car's tape player can control the iPod because the dock connector is bi-directional. The SmartDeck converts the movements of the tape deck into commands for the iPod. (Image courtesy of Griffin Technology, www.griffintechnology.com)
Like all music players, the iPod has analog output for a headset, which can be input to any amplifier and speakers, whether in the car or not. The iPod's dock connector port at the bottom of the unit provides a bi-directional, digital connection to an iPod-specific car adapter as well as to a computer or desktop iPod docking station (see