iTrip FM beamer back in black for U2 iPod

The dark side

With a pledge to make your car... er... "rattle and hum", hip accessory maker Griffin Technology has released a "none more black" version of its iTrip FM broadcaster pitched (geddit?!?!) at the new U2 edition iPod.

The iTrip plugs onto the iPod and when tuned to a (relatively) empty band of the FM radio spectrum transmits the songs the player is playing. A nearby radio - your car's stereo, say - can tune into the iTrip and pump the music through its speakers. It's a great and inexpensive way of using the iPod in a car without having to drape wires across the dashboard.

Griffin iTrip U2

The device ships with support for US FM frequencies, but a European frequency enabler can be downloaded free of charge from Griffin's website. iTrip uses a sequence of MP3 files which encode a signal that tunes the device to each frequency increment. The transmitter is powered by the iPod itself, so there's no need for batteries.

The new model not only matches the special iPod's black shell, but is equipped with a red LED, the same colour as the U2 player's clickwheel.

Griffin said the black iTrip will ship in November 2004, but it's taking pre-orders now. The unit costs $35, the same as the white version. The U2 iPod is about three weeks away, according to Apple. ®

Bootnote for UK readers Use of the iTrip remains illegal in the UK. To quote Ofcom: "The use of the FM broadcast band to transmit a radio signal from a device used in a vehicle to the car radio is illegal... Such use - despite the relative short range involved - is subject to licensing under Section 1 of the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1949. As the FM broadcast band is allocated for the exclusive use of licensed broadcasters no other systems are permitted to operate within the band. Use of these systems therefore constitutes an offence.

"Transmitting offences under the WT Act 1949 attract a maximum penalty of £5000 and/or imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months." Phew. The joys of living in the free world, eh?

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