iTunes Radio Launches Exclusively with Nissan, Sort Of

iTunes Radio will function in new Nissans, and most any vehicle with an auxiliary or USB input.

Listening to music while driving is a venerated pastime, holding as much clout as idling loudly at traffic lights and the joy of operating a manual transmission. These days, most cars offer more than one method of piping the best road trip tunes through the speakers, whether by traditional radio waves, over satellites, or through an auxiliary device. Hot on the heels of the debut of iTunes Radio, which launched as part of Apple’s iOS 7 operating system, Nissan has planted its flag as the app’s first and only “automotive partner.”

While Nissan is taking the lead in the automotive adoption of the app, there is nothing inherently unique to the relationship between the brand’s products and enabling iTunes Radio to function. iTunes Radio can be streamed into in-car audio systems either through Bluetooth or by  plugging in through a USB or auxiliary input, in the same vein as streaming music apps like Pandora and iHeartRadio. Essentially, then, Nissan’s status as “exclusive automotive partner” for iTunes Radio is little more than sponsorship.

Nissan says that the first of its vehicles to feature the functionality will be the new-for-2014 Rogue and Versa Note, as well as the Leaf. However, as there’s nothing unique about those cars’ infotainment setups or Apple’s streaming service, Nissan tells us any of its—and, we suspect, any other automakers’—vehicles equipped with USB or auxiliary inputs will support this functionality.

Instrumented Test: 2014 Nissan GT-R Track Edition
Long-Term Road Test Intro: 2013 Nissan Pathfinder AWD
First Drive: 2013 Nissan Juke NISMO

Nissan’s exclusivity agreement with iTunes will continue until the end of 2013. By that point, we can’t speculate on where Apple’s rapid development will take iTunes Radio and how it will be implemented in automotive applications, but we hope to continue to listen to Chuck Berry as the miles go by.

About Jeff Jablansky