Car-makers and car stereo makers are keen to grab their slice of the iPod market.

Referring to the emerging market for in-car iPod adapters, Subaru's Mike Whelan told USA Today: "It's certainly something we're looking at".

Phil Leigh of Inside Digital Media thinks the car-makers are wise not to ignore the iPod. He said: "If you can motivate some people to buy a car because it's iPod friendly, it's an important advantage." Leigh notes that 60 per cent of music listening takes place in cars.

Safety issues

Leigh also notes safely issues with existing adapters that require the user to "fiddle with the iPod itself". Car and stereo manufacturers are now offering iPod adapters that incorporate the iPod controls into the stereo, and sometimes the steering wheel.

BMW and Apple announced a $149 adapter earlier this year. According to BMW spokesman Oleg Satanovsky, this adapter was completely sold out until two months ago.

Other such adapters are in the pipeline. Pioneer Electronics says it will introduce a $140 adapter in March. Clarion says it will unveil an adapter that will work in conjunction with a 7-inch monitor. And Alpine Electronics announced its $100 adapter in September.