Singapore Airlines today became the third carrier to publicly discuss its decision to allow passengers to play music and video content from their own Apple iPod players over installed Panasonic in-flight entertainment (IFE) systems.
You'll recall that late last year United Airlines started touting iPod integration when it revealed details about a $165 million, multi-tiered program to revamp its business travel offering. It looks like Singapore has actually beaten United to the punch, becoming the first carrier to officially offer the iPod - and iPhone - connectivity (starting today on the first of five Airbus A340-500s). It is understood, however, that United is quickly readying to go live on its international widebody fleet.
Also, just this week Panasonic revealed that Air New Zealand has opted to retrofit 13 Airbus A320s and five Boeing 767s with Panasonic's X Series IFE systems, which features iPod integration. Folks, this is just the beginning. And boy is Panasonic in a sweet spot. The company says its IFE solution is the only one that can natively support Apple's authentication technology.
"Based on my involvement with our sales and marketing team, I can tell you that just about every airline we speak with has asked us to demonstrate this feature," Panasonic Avionics director, product line management Marshal Perlman tells Runway Girl.
"Just as in the PC world, device integration and system expandability are hot topics. And if you break it down, iPod integration is a simple and cost effective solution that helps bridge the gap between the IFE and PMP (personal media player) markets."
So how does all this work? Here are some visuals for your pleasure, and some facts from Panasonic about the world's biggest and highest flying iPod accessory (as someone from Apple put it).
1) Allows audio and video to be sent from a passenger's iPod to the IFE system while simultaneously powering and charging the iPod.
2) eXport solution consists of two main components: eXport jack (installed in the seat) and eXport cable (connects the iPod to the eXport jack).
3) Cabin crew will make the eXport cable available to passengers during the flight.
4) Solution is the world's first Apple approved "Made for iPod" and "Made for iPhone" solution designed specifically for the commercial airliner market.
5) Natively supports Apple's authentication technology.
6) In the near future Panasonic will introduce additional functionality that allows for two way communication between the iPod and IFE system.
7) Both iPod and iPhone (in "airplane mode") are supported.