High-end audio cable company Monster Cable Products Inc. has released more information about iCruze, an iPod peripheral that directly connects the MP3 player to your car stereo. Monster originally announced iCruze at the beginning of November, indicating a fall 2004 release date and a US$199.95 price tag. The company's latest press release bumps the cost to US$249.95 and mentions "early Q1 2005" availability in the US -- the top-level iCruze Web page includes a counter that indicates a Jan. 15 release date, if it's correct.
Monster also now says that iCruze will work with any factory-installed or Alpine M-Bus aftermarket car stereo, hooking up through the CD changer or satellite radio port. You can control the music through your steering wheel or CD player controls, with song title and artist listed on the stereo's head unit; an optional display will be available for users whose head unit doesn't display text. The company also notes that "most cars will require the Monster Factory Linx Interface Cable (and) some installs may also require a Monster Factory Linx Interface module." The iCruze Web page offers a pop-up window that answers questions concerning compatibility with specific car and stereo models. It works with all iPods that feature a dock connector, including the new iPod photo.