Clearly Apple is trying to tell me that it's time to upgrade. They announced today that they're teaming up with six airlines to deliver iPod integration. Seats will have iPod power connections, and video content will be delivered to the seatback display.
The press release doesn't say whether the airlines will make this available only in first class, or if it will be available to those of us who have to travel in cattle economy class. That's probably up to the individual airline. Sadly, it's not going to be available until mid-2007, meaning that I can't give it a go on my upcoming 14-1/2 hour flight to Sydney on United.
So maybe it really really is time to upgrade. I still have my trusty old 2G iPod. It's still happily buzzing along, and I'm stuffing it full of content for my upcoming flight, but having in-seat power for it would be very nice. It doesn't get its full 10 hours of battery life any more, but still does a respectable 8 or so.
It occurs to me that all of this iPod integration is locking Apple in to their current connector, and possibly to their current form factor as well. The accessory manufacturers have had to simply absorb the changes, but Apple's swimming with bigger fish than Belkin now. With all of these other companies laying out significant piles of cash to integrate with the iPod, Apple probably can't risk ticking them off by changing the connector, not to mention confusing the huge number of users who already own iPods and won't understand the distinction between the various iPod generations.
Well, locked into the connector but not necessarily the form factor. After all, as the new Shuffle shows, they can change the form factor as long as they make an adapter for it.
Then again, if the connector is USB then that makes it even easier. Maybe a little side pocket on the seat with a USB connector cable to hold your iPod while in transit?
Sorry Nadyne, United is only making this change for international business- and first-class seats, not for any domestic or economy-class seats/flights.
Sigh. United hates me. The cost of a first-class ticket is, shall we say, prohibitive.