Would you like to know more about Panasonic Avionics' strategy for bringing iPod connectivity to a cabin near you?
I spoke with Panasonic director of corporate sales and marketing Neil James last week. He says the firm's two-pronged approach calls for Panasonic to initially offer "iPod connect", a solution that is currently flying with the likes of Singapore Airlines and United Airlines (and in the pipeline for a host of other carriers).
This allows a passenger to watch content on his or her iPod - and charge the iPod - via the IFE system.
The second phase, known as "iPod merge", gives passengers the ability to integrate metadata for seamless inclusion in passenger's 'library' and no iPod icon.
James breaks down "iPod merge" for us:
"The iPod content could be placed anywhere and in any manner within the GUI, but would typically be under a category for 'personal media' and a sub-category for 'iPod'. The passenger would see the content divided into major categories (movies; video; music; audio books; pictures; etc.) then sub-categories (genres). Selecting an item of content would cause a command to be sent to the iPod to execute playback and the content would be reproduced via the IFE system to the passenger.
Thus, there is no 'direct' control of the iPod via the IFE system, meaning, the navigation menu of the iPod is not reproduced. Rather, the content metadata is ingested, and from this, the passenger makes their selection and 'control' happens automatically in the background. This is simple and elegant."
Introduction into revenue service of "iPod merge" is currently scheduled for mid-late 2009.