said Thursday that automakers
plan to offer a way to integrate the company's wildly popular iPod digital music player into their vehicle stereo systems.
Through the deal, Ford will feature the iPod hookup option in a majority of its 2007 offerings, while GM will make it available in all 56 of its models. Mazda's entire global 2007 lineup of cars and SUVs will also offer iPod connectivity. Ford owns a large stake in Mazda.
"We're delighted that Ford, General Motors and Mazda will support iPod connectivity in nearly all of their new models," said Greg Joswiak, Apple's vice president of Worldwide iPod Product Marketing.
The arrangement will give iPod users control over selecting their music with each automobile's multifunction controls. Drivers will be able to choose music using artist, album, playlist or shuffle options. iPods will be stored in the auto's glove compartments while they're charging.
Last month, Apple posted second-quarter results that topped Wall Street's expectations, boosted by the shipment of 8.1 million iPods. The figure represented a 32% jump in iPod sales from a year ago, helping Apple retain the crown as the overwhelming leader among digital music players.
The agreement represents the newest option drivers will have when it comes to exercising more control over their music. Satellite-radio providers
have reached numerous arrangements with various car builders to make their services available in new vehicles.