5.0 Mustang & Super FordsNews & Views
Bench Racer - So long to the CD player? - December 2013
Stacking The Deck
Just the other day I read a news story predicting the impending demise of the CD player as an in-dash resident in automobiles. Sure the CD player is still hanging on in most cars, but for how much longer will it hold onto its center-stack real estate?
Upon reading this, I was immediately saddened just a bit. In my college days, I worked in a record store. Many of you probably never had the opportunity or inclination to go into a store to actually purchase music, but in the old days, that's how it was done. During my tenure, I saw the transition from vinyl and cassettes to compact discs. I still remember saving up for my first in-dash CD player. Making that move up from noisy, hissing cassettes was big. Cassettes needed rewinding and would occasionally break and tangle. Moreover, they just didn't sound as good as compact discs. That digital revolution brought high-quality audio into the car.
Having been through the full sweep of car audio sources from 8-tracks, to cassettes, to CDs, it was kind of a big moment to have that kind of quality in the car. It was the mix of sound and portability that really made the difference. I can remember using an 8-track-to-cassette adapter in my mom's '77 T-bird. (After all, Mom deserved to hear the dulcet tones of Ozzy Osbourne's Blizzard of Ozz.) Later, I just had to have a good cassette deck in my own ride. For me, music and Mustangs have always been fast friends.
So as I read this story about the possible demise of the CD player in cars, I wondered what might happen with the '15 Mustang? Could it be born with no CD player? Possibly, but I doubt it. Mustangers are a bit conservative in nature, and Ford has really taken baby steps in adding technology to the car. If it did happen, I would be a little sad, but despite my nostalgia for physical media, I'm addicted to technology and I love its benefits.
Modern Mustangs have had CD players for a long while, but it seemed to take an eternity for the 'Stang to get a basic auxiliary input. Once we could carry 1,000 songs in our pockets, that convenience trumped the quality of the CD. Having all your music with you makes a long drive quite a joy. Factor in all the possibilities of satellite radio, streaming music, and 1,000s of songs on a thumb drive, and you can see why the dash real estate taken by a mechanical CD player might be up for sale.
As much as it might sting to see another symbol of my youth go by the roadside, the timing would be great for Ford to use the new Mustang as a launching vehicle for technology. Seriously, why do aux in, Sync, navigation, backup warning, reverse cameras, and other useful gadgetry show up in many other Fords before saddling up in a Mustang? It would seem that the relatively smaller numbers of Mustangs would make it an ideal testbed for new tech. Try it out with Mustang enthusiasts before launching it across the more mainstream Fords. Heck, you could even take some chances and try out new things to see if they are accepted.
These days my daily driver is a Focus ST, and it's brimming with technology, but even it lacks a backup camera and cool Track Apps like Mustang. However, it does have truly keyless entry and push-button starting, among other cool features. However, it's not like this technology is that new, yet it still hasn't appeared in the Mustang. Why not? Along those lines there are myriad technologies in development that might appear on a Mustang window sticker. I'd love to see options like adaptive cruise control and air-conditioned seats, along with the other fusions of navigation, cameras, and Track Apps that I've discussed on this page.
Do you agree that the Mustang should be a technological tour de force, or do you prefer a stripped-down, all- performance motif? Keep in mind that with options, you could order it either way, but having them available is an advantage for those that want them. Are there options you'd love to see? Hit me on Twitter @editorturner or email us here at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your ideas.