iTrip Makes the Long Haul to the iPhone, Redundant Buttons Along for the Ride
Do any of you remember hitting the road with the iTrip from Griffin Technology, the FM transmitter that let you use that new fangled (now Classic) iPod with your car radio? Well years later is seems — and with the help of iPhone OS 3.0 – Griffin has finally brought us a new iTrip for the iPhone and iPod Touch.
Until the release of iPhone OS 3.0, Griffin was unable to create an iPhone app for the new iTrip. Now, with the connector open to developers we are going to see a slew of iPhone app/hardware combos. For the time being it seems Griffin is one of the first to deliver a plug in accessory, even though I think it doesn’t make much sense to bother with it.
First of all, today it seems most car head units have iPod connectors or Aux input built-in, which removes the need for that low quality FM transmitter. When the iTrip originally came out for the iPod (Classic) it was at the perfect time and fit an exact need many people had. At the time there weren’t many options to get MP3’s playing in your car — except burning them on CD’s of course. Now these FM transmitters are everywhere — I can probably find one in my backpack.
One of the coolest features for the iTrip is the ability to control it using only your touch screen, and not actually having to touch the accessory or its buttons. This brings me to another point though — why have the buttons if you’re never going to press them? Couldn’t they have just made the transmitter small and flush instead of large and protruding? It doesn’t even seem like we need the LCD screen either — there is a pretty high quality screen found a few inches higher, and it even displays color.
Another issue is that the iTrip does not have a charging pass-through cable, so you’ll have to make due with whatever battery life you get from your phone.
Maybe if they chopped off all of the extra hardware on the accessory they could bring the price down so that it could compete in this saturated market. US$50 seems pretty expensive for something I can find for $6.88. The App is free, though, which is a smart since the App is worthless without the accessory. Then again who knows maybe people will like it because it has that “Made for iPod/Works with iPhone” sticker.