I had to go to the Midlands and back to help somebody in distress today. It would have been an ideal time to listen to an inspirational audiobook on my iPod Classic. It’s also on my iPhone 5, but I had no way of interfacing the phone to my Audi’s stereo system. I realised that there was also no obvious way to connect my iPod Classic to my car’s stereo either, despite the salesman at Finchley Road Audi assuring us that a simple cable would make this possible. We’ve looked for this mythical cable, but find it elusive, as do Audi, and we don’t have a clue where in the Audi we’re meant to connect it.
In the old days, you just stuck a tape in the cassette deck and it worked. Then there were CDs, and if you had your own stuff, you ripped it onto CD and played it that way. It just worked.
We also have a pretty expensive bluetooth system in the car, but guess what? This doesn’t connect to my phone in any obvious way. We bought it a year ago and to this day, I’ve never managed to connect my phone to the car’s system.
Another option would have been to use an SD card, but I didn’t have time before I left to copy across a bunch of files. It’s 2013. I have the files on a number of other devices, I shouldn’t have to muck around with copying large groups of files. We have this thing called The Cloud too. Surely, it should just work?
I also have an iPad mini retina, with a 4G cell connection and I thought, worst case, I just play the audiobook via iTunes Match (which I subscribe to) over the 4G connection (which I subscribe to). Guess what? iTunes Match, as I onyl discovered once I got to my destination, doesn’t sync or even recognise audiobooks. These have to be manually synchronised via a computer with iTunes.
So I neded up listening to something else on the iPad mini instead, which I inserted clumsily into my top jacket pocket so that I could hear the spoken word loudly enough over the road and wind noise. That kind of failed half way to my destination too. I haven’t a clue why. I was more annoyed at not being able to use my car’s decent audio system for any of my audio, or even my phone.
There is a lot to be said for progress, but there is a lot to be said for simplicity too. I used to listen to a lot more music. I chucked some CDs in the car and off I went. Nowadays, I listen to nothing when I’m driving. This is a minor tragedy, because I only ever got singing practice while I used to drive. I haven’t had any singing practice for a decade. I place the blame squarely at the door of Apple and Audi.
I don’t believe in moaning without deciding on a course of corrective action. I’m just going to bite the bullet and ensure that when I chop the Audi in for something else at some point, it has amazing connectivity and audio, and is configured properly to play all my music from a cloudless device, like my iPod Classic, from the get-go. Oh, and the Bluetooth will actually work with my phone. Maybe I will abandon the Apple and find another solution, and maybe I will try a different car after this, my third Audi, which of all the Audis I’ve had has been the worst connected for audio and phone that I’ve had thus far. Now that really isn’t progress!