Two of six airlines say there's no ink on iPod deal

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Apple Computer said Tuesday it had secured deals with Air France, Continental, Delta, Emirates, KLM and United to offer in-flight iPod connectivity, but two of those airlines have since disputed such claims.

The Cupertino, Calif.-based iPod maker, whose announcement coincided precisely with rival Microsoft Corp.'s official launch of Zune, said the in-flight iPod connectivity would be available to passengers beginning in mid 2007.

"It's way too early to confirm any such details," an Air France spokeswoman, referring to the iPod seat connectivity and a mid-2007 availability date, told Reuters.

Similarly, a spokesman for KLM told the media outlet there had only been "informal contacts" between Apple and the airline leading up to the announcement.

"It's very premature what Apple are saying," he said. "We have no idea if this is technically feasible, if it's financially viable, or it customers want it."

"At this moment, we have absolutely no intention of introducing it on board," the spokesman for KLM added.

In a statement to Reuters, Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr said: "Clearly we have had a miscommunication with AirFrance-KLM, but we are excited about announcing iPod integration with in-flight entertainment systems on Continental, Delta, Emirates and United today."

Ray Neidl, an analyst at Calyon Securitie, told Reuters that all airlines have been looking to upgrade their entertainment systems — especially for longer distance flights — and to expect more announcements from Apple on the subject in the near future.

"This is just one way of doing it," he said. "It's a nice add-on, makes customers happier, keeps them out of flight attendants' hair."


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