News

Apple keeps iPod's head in the clouds on day of Zune launch

Paul H.B. Shin
New York Daily News

NEW YORK - How's this for the coolest new accessory for your iPod - a commercial jet.

Apple has teamed with six major airlines on allowing passengers to plug in their iPods in-flight, enabling them to watch their own downloaded videos on seat-back displays while the devices recharge.

Air France, Continental, Delta, Emirates, KLM and United will offer iPod connections on flights starting in mid-2007, Apple announced Tuesday.

"It's one more reason why a consumer would want to choose an iPod over a competing device," said Michael Gartenberg, an analyst at JupiterResearch in New York.

Apple made the announcement on the same day that Microsoft Corp. released its rival Zune player.

"I'm sure the timing was not coincidental," Gartenberg said. Apple's pact with the airlines "emphasizes how uphill the battle Microsoft is facing in order to win the hearts and minds of consumers when there's so much iPod ubiquity."

Apple has a commanding 75 percent market share of portable music players. More than 3,000 accessories are made for iPods, ranging from carrying cases to sneakers that keep track of a runner's pace. More than 70 percent of 2007 U.S. model cars offer iPod connections.

And iPod users can shop from an online catalog that includes 3.5 million songs, 65,000 podcasts, 20,000 audiobooks, 5,000 music videos, 250 television shows and more than 100 movies from Walt Disney, Pixar, Touchstone Pictures and Miramax.

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