A Transpod is an accessory for Apple's iPod that is designed to both recharge the iPod and allow it to play over a automobile's stereo. It is made by Digital Lifestyle Outfitters, and it works with Apple's revision 1 and 2 of the iPod (the revisions that have the buttons around the scroll wheel). The iPod slides into a "dock" on the Transpod, which has Firewire and headphone plugs that insert into the appropriate jacks on the iPod. A small latch slides along the bottom of the unit to keep the iPod in place.
The Transpod's dock attaches to various arms that can either be plugged directly into the auto's cigarette lighter socket, or mounted onto the auto's dash. The overall design allows the Transpod to stay in place, while allowing easy insertion and removal of the iPod for when the car is not in use.
When the Transpod is hooked up to power, it transmits a limited-range FM radio signal that can be tuned to using the auto's built-in radio receiver. In this way, the iPod's songs can be heard while traveling in the car, with few wires cluttering up the area.
The FM radio signal that the Transpod emits can be adjusted throughout most of the FM radio range. A switch on the front of the Transpod allows the user to select a low, medium, or high frequency range, and a dial along the side allows finer adjustments throughout that range.
The Transpod has been reported as having some problems. The fine-tune dial has been reported as touchy, and needing to be adjusted every time the Transpod unit is used. Additionally, the electric components are reported to be temperature-sensitive, and the tuning may need to be adjusted as the Transpod warms on colder days. Finally, the unit may make a noise that sounds like a semi-taut spring bouncing against something.
My use of the Transpod has verified the fact that the dial needs adjusting, and the springy noise. The Transpod can be taken apart, and some tissue paper wrapped around the main antenna, which practically eliminates the annoying noise of the spring, but there doesn't seem to be an easy solution to the touchy fine-tune dial.
The range of the Transpod's FM transmitter has been reported as being up to 30 feet, which shouldn't cause much interference to other automobiles while in use.
There is a newer version of the Transpod, called the Transpod II. Instead of transmitting over the FM band, the Transpod II includes a cassette adapter and an auxiliary cable to allow the unit to be connected directly to the auto's stereo.