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iPod Car Integration Reality Check at Apple Expo 176

Posted by timothy
from the how-can-a-jumprope-be-hi-fi? dept.
An anonymous reader writes "At the last Apple special event, Steve Jobs was almost bragging about the fact that 70% of new cars sold in the U.S. this year had (optional!) iPod 'integration' available ... Obviously, he didn't talk about the rest of the world. But most of all, what Steve didn't tell us is how crappy the existing "integration" solutions actually are! Here is a review of actual iPod car integration solutions showcased Apple Expo 2006 Paris. Some of the nicest cars (like the Audi TT for example) don't necessarily have the best iPod interfaces."
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iPod Car Integration Reality Check at Apple Expo

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  • Not terrible. (Score:3, Informative)

    by riceboy50 (631755) on Monday September 25, 2006 @04:26PM (#16190567)
    I rather like the integration in my Scion tC. The iPod is hidden in the center console, while I control it from the head unit.
    • Re:Not terrible. (Score:4, Informative)

      by MalleusEBHC (597600) on Monday September 25, 2006 @04:41PM (#16190859)
      My sister just got a tC, and they did a fine job with the iPod integration. The interface was basically the same as an iPod. It was so intuitive for an iPod user, that only after I finished and had my music playing did I sit back and realize, "Damn, that's a nice setup." It's nice to see that at least one company realized that copying the excellent iPod design is the way to go.
  • Honda Music Link (Score:5, Informative)

    by nuxx (10153) on Monday September 25, 2006 @04:26PM (#16190583) Homepage
    In case anyone is interested in Honda's solution, here is my review of the Honda Music Link iPod Adapter [nuxx.net].

    After being burned by the purchase of the Honda Music Link earlier in the year I wrote up that review to try and keep others from throwing away their money on it.
    • by EvilMagnus (32878)
      And I thank you for that - your review was instrumental in me not getting Music Link for my Accord.

      Honda would have been better off just providing an AUX input in the glove compartment. How hard would that have been? They even managed to put an AUX on the front panel of the new Civics, for frak's sake.

      • by nuxx (10153)
        Thanks very much, and you're welcome. I'm always glad to hear that the review helped keep someone else from throwing $200 (or more) down the hole.
  • by natural1 (741392) on Monday September 25, 2006 @04:33PM (#16190719)
    My new 06 Rabbit has iPod integration...and it sucks. Only 6 playlists and you can't see any of the song info on the stereo, plus you can't access songs any way except to click through them one at a time. So much for the click-wheel. It would've been nice to have steering wheel mounted controls too... I know it's an entry level car, but c'mon - it's supposed to be German engineering! I guess the Germans don't like music?
    • by ruiner13 (527499) on Monday September 25, 2006 @04:46PM (#16190985) Homepage
      I know it's an entry level car, but c'mon - it's supposed to be German engineering! I guess the Germans don't like music?

      You're talking about a country that worships Hasselhoff's music, so they are clearly tone deaf. I hope it was a rhetorical question...
    • by larryj (84367) on Monday September 25, 2006 @05:42PM (#16191907)
      I have the same setup in my '06 Touareg. It has it's limitations (as the parent pointed out), but it's not too bad. I like that the iPod is hidden in the glove box, but don't like not being able to navigate to anything I want to listen to. I've learned to use my iTunes playlists more. I just rename my playlists to change what's available in the car. I prefix the 6 I want with the numbers 1 through 6. That forces them to the top of the playlist menu and makes those 6 available in the car.

      I've also found that if you start playing something, pause it and then connect the iPod in the car, you can continue to listen to what was paused. It's not much, but it helps when you have a specific artist or album in mind while on the go.

      I thought that the "on the go" playlist was going to save me. My plan was to just add stuff to the OTG list in an effort to gain more flexibility. Unfortunately the OTG playlist always becomes the last playlist on my 4th gen iPod. I even tried prefixing everything else with a 'z' but OTG is always at the bottom.

    • My 05 Murano does not have a specific kit from Nissan for it but I use the XTerra's kit.

      It plugs into an extra coupling on the Satellite connection. From there it goes to a "magic box" which has a standard docking cable attachment.

      My iPod charges and plays while hooked up. While the stereo controls are not intuitive, forum help was great, I can select ANY playlist I want. I can skip forward and back with the steering wheel controls and control the volume as well. To change playlist I have to use the far
    • by tbone1 (309237) on Tuesday September 26, 2006 @07:54AM (#16197467) Homepage
      I guess the Germans don't like music?

      Dear natural1,

      In spite of your Folk Implosion-inspired name, bite us royally.

      Sincerely,
      Johann Sebastian Bach
      Richard Wagner
      Johannes Brahms
      Ludwig van Beethoven
      Joseph Haydn
      The entire Strauss family
      Klaus Meine and the rest of the guys from Scorpions

      (Okay, some of those are Austrian, but still, ...)

  • by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Monday September 25, 2006 @04:33PM (#16190727)
    I want the 5 minutes of my life back that I spent reading through that badly-written drivel. The only thing worse would have been the same stuff in an audio or video format. Ugh.

    To save others from the same pain, here's a quick summary: the vast majority of iPod integrations work either by pretending the iPod is a CD changer, or by sending RDS (radio data stream, I think - it's the stuff that piggybacks song info onto the AM/FM signal) to the radio. Which means they all still suck. It's cumbersome to navigate stuff and you don't get the info you expect (songname, etc). We get promises that next year, everything will be better, but we heard all that stuff last year already.

    In short, if you want to use your iPod in your car now, use your headset. And if you live in California, just hope the cops don't catch you.
    • If by headset you mean headphones, don't do it. Do not ever drive with headphones covering both ears. Even at an average volume you're far less likely to hear horns honking and emergency vehicles. I've seen the disasters that happen when people don't hear sirens. Do everyone on the road a favor and plug that iPod into your head unit or leave it at home.
      • Deaf people drive all the time. They just learn to look out for flashing lights and to be careful.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Rockenreno (573442)
          That doesn't make it safe... Distractions should always be minimized when possible. Listening to the car stereo (so long as it is not at absurd volumes) still allows entry of more outside noise than if you were earing headphones (heaven forbid you have some working, noise-cancelling headphones). Personally, I like to hear what's going on with my car as well as the environment around it to a certain degree so that I can act when necessary.
        • Deaf people also have spent much [or all] of their life compensating for their lack of hearing. Some jackass wearing headphones in his car while driving has not, and is a danger to others.
    • by CastrTroy (595695)
      Why would anybody want to spend money on a feature for their car so that they could listen to music from a single brand of MP3 player? Wouldn't it make more sense to get a stereo with an audio input jack that could attach to any audio player? I mean, sure the controls aren't integrated, but you have controls on you MP3 player. Use those if you want to switch songs. Besides, you should be focused on driving, not trying to find the next song you want to listen to.
      • Why would anybody want to spend money on a feature for their car so that they could listen to music from a single brand of MP3 player? Wouldn't it make more sense to get a stereo with an audio input jack that could attach to any audio player? I mean, sure the controls aren't integrated, but you have controls on you MP3 player. Use those if you want to switch songs. Besides, you should be focused on driving, not trying to find the next song you want to listen to.

        because they have that brand of mp3 player? w

        • by 7Prime (871679) on Monday September 25, 2006 @05:42PM (#16191905) Homepage Journal

          People take their hand off the steering wheel all that time, ever heard of something called "shifting geers"? Seriously, people make a big deal about taking your hands off the wheel, but that isn't what's dangerous, what's dangerous is focusing your attention elsewhere for any length of time. Those fancy iPod controls might be right on the steering wheel, yes, but if the system is combersomb and frusterating to operate, then it's going to be far more distracting and dangerous than "taking your hand off the wheel" to operate an interface you've used for years. None of the systems I've seen offer a "simpler" (meaning less pushing of buttons) interface than the iPod itself. And most car stereo buttons are no bigger than the buttons on a click wheel, not that button size really matters anyway.

          It's myths like this that lead people to buy hands-free cellphone systems, even though they've been proven to be no safer than using a normal cellphone in the car. The only point to total car integration is that it feels snazy and looks pretty, although I'd say my homemade integration system (which uses the iPod for control) feels pretty snazy, maybe partly because I built it up myself.

          Now, what's important is that the iPod is positioned in a static, secure place that doesn't require fumbling around for it (like trying to feel where you last put it on the passanger's seat). I've created a little mount for my iPod belt clip (a Vaja case) right on the top of the stereo head unit, that way it's always in the same place when I reach over for it, and it's no farther away than the stereo or temperature controls. I can quickly hit the forward and back buttons like I would on any car stereo, or if I'm at a stop light, I can quickly lift it off its mount (attatched with a modified rivet clip on the back of the case), and pull it right in front of me for more in depth control. In this case, I can choose my own level of involvement with the UI according to the particular driving situation.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by MikeBabcock (65886)
            Thank you for pointing this out. I'm incredulous at the number of people seemingly incapable of tying their shoes while carrying on a conversation ... I drink coffee and drive, why not change stereo stations and drive? Why not talk to my wife or 4yr old while driving?

            Besides, that crap on the steering wheel encourages poor hand positioning. I like to drive at 10&2 as per my driving lessons way back (or the one-handed 12 o'clock position). Never do I have my fingers or thumbs anywhere near the area o
      • by jbellis (142590)
        "I mean, sure the controls aren't integrated"

        Do you actually drive a car? Integration is the *whole point*.
      • Why would anybody want to spend money on a feature for their car so that they could listen to music from a single brand of MP3 player?

        Because the ipod does its job of being a music player very well. With the smart playlist feature, it does a good job of managing a playlist of songs that I want to hear. Also, there are many ways to integrate an ipod into my car's stereo, I haven't seen any other MP3 players that have as many options available as the ipod does.

        I mean, sure the controls aren't integrated, b

    • by steveo777 (183629)
      You can actually get some nice setups from Pioneer [pioneerelectronics.com] and other aftermarket places that work much better than the stock stereos. Most of the Pioneer, Sony, Alpine, Panasonics and what have you can have add-ons for them that let you control your iPod from the card remotes. They also have three line displays so it's almost like looking at your iPod interface.

      I'm planning on getting one of these sets for CDs and iPoding in the car.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Shadarr (11622)
        JVC has a couple of decks out with a USB port [crutchfield.com] on the front. I have a friend with one, and he loves it. If you don't already own an iPod, why drop that kind of money just to listen to music in the car, when you can pick up a 1GB thumbdrive for $20?
        • by rikkards (98006)

          JVC has a couple of decks out with a USB port [crutchfield.com] on the front. I have a friend with one, and he loves it. If you don't already own an iPod, why drop that kind of money just to listen to music in the car, when you can pick up a 1GB thumbdrive for $20?

          Because I have 19 Gigs of music and normally just hit play and let it go. The only time I hook up my iPod is to charge it or if I deplete my bank account of $0.99. My main playlist is a Smart Playlist with only music over 3 stars rating. Which rig

        • by Bert64 (520050)
          A USB thumbdrive device won't be able to play music when you leave the car...
          An iPod can also be used as a USB storage too, so you could plug it in to the same usb port and play the mp3 files stored on it.
      • I have the alpine model with the 3 line display. The ipod integration is great. Being able to pull up songs from the HU by either playlist, artist, album, song is really nice. My only minor gripe is that skipping songs could be a bit faster. I want CD skip speed, but I'm not sure that's possible with a HD based ipod.
    • I use an adaptor that makes my ipod appear as a unilink (sony) cd changer, hooked to a pretty generic sony head unit. The interface is pretty decent, you can select between playlist, artist and genre mode, then next/prev disc buttons scroll through the selection, and prev/next track goes through the tracks in that selection.

      the sony protocol means that the track name, artist and album names are all fed to the head unit properly, so the head unit can show you them as you like.

      the only thing that particularly
  • It could be worse... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by The Dalex (996138)
    I'm busy looking for any good solution for my iPod and my 2000 Acura 3.2TL. The tape or FM adapters have poor, inconsistent quality, and my CD player stopped playing burned CDs (it seems to only like 640MB discs and I can't seem to find them anymore). Crutchfield says if I replace the CD player, my factory sub stops working. They have an iPod adapter that plugs into the CD Changer input on the factory stereo, but to install it, I need to remove my console and gearshift! So, in conclusion, any sort of di
    • by 7Prime (871679)
      google "Blitzsafe". It's a very simple, generic cable that ties your iPod into the "CD Changer" port and charges your iPod as well. They have a number of different options according to the particular make and model of your stereo head unit (it works dozens of them, I hooked it into my '99 Camry). Then build yourself a custom mount, and you have the best iPod interface integrated right into your car: the iPod.
    • by phorm (591458)
      I bought one of these [cgi.ebay.ca] to use my mp3 player (not an iPod) in my work vehicle, because it just has a tape-deck+radio which tends to get no reception on long drives out-of-town.

      I was expecting static and/or a crappy signal (including shipping I think I paid $10CAD), but was pretty impressed with what I got for my money. My mp3 player doesn't play+charge by USB simultaneously, but if yours does you can also use the USB adaptor (or firewire on some models) to keep the thing powered up while you're on the road.
    • Cant you just replace the car stereo with one that plays MP3s off of a harddrive?

      You dont have to carry a radio from your house and plug it into your car, so why have do you have to physically carry your ripped tracks between house and car?

      "iPod integration" is actually "audio disintegration", your iTunes tracks are not integratable with any other media devices.

      This thing is getting there.
      http://www.advancedmp3players.co.uk/shop/product_i nfo.php?cPath=4&products_id=1260 [advancedmp3players.co.uk]
  • by Apocalypse111 (597674) on Monday September 25, 2006 @04:40PM (#16190849) Journal
    At least none of the control schemes have tried to introduce the dangerous fusion of the click and steering wheels...

    "Honey, why are we driving in circles?"
    "I wanted to listen to some Frank Zappa, but we're still in the L's"

    Or, worse yet...

    "Dammit, I can't change songs because there's a semi along side me!"
  • The article is loading very slowly so I haven't read it yet, but what constitutes iPod integration? I just ordered an '07 Mustang. It comes with a basic stereo input jack. I would prefer a really well done total iPod integration, but this still works well. The other benefit is that in 10 years if I'm not using an iPod (or the hookups change), it will still work perfectly with my car.
  • My Pioneer DEH-6800MP's iPod integration works very well. The receiver has a wheel that works similar to the iPod's wheel. The reciever's remote would work fine except that it has no repeating or hold-down scroll, so it's useless unless you're near what you're looking for.

    The default list gives me Genre, Artist, Song, and Album. Selecting Genre lets me choose the genre and then artists within the genre, so that's my preferred method of finding a given song.

    The display shows two lines of song info; I leav
  • by Creosote (33182) on Monday September 25, 2006 @04:47PM (#16191001) Homepage
    Those of us driving old clunkers with cassette decks are snickering, as we can purchase low-cost cassette adapters for iPod or generic MP3 players that take about five seconds to install or remove and don't suffer from interference like the FM transmitters.
    • by Trogre (513942)
      That's why I don't think I'll ever be selling my humble Fujitsu Ten (aka Toyota) head unit, with its front-mounted 3.5mm AUX jack.

      My little Samsung plugs right in and plays oggs with no quality loss.

      That is, until the signal gets to my tinny door-speakers.

  • subaru (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mjsottile77 (867906)
    I've complained plenty to Subaru about the lack of options for my Outback. Up until the '07 models, the only solution was the less-than-optimal FM transmitter or an aftermarket replacement for the factory stereo. Unfortunately, in the '07 model they gave it zero effort in "integration" - all we get is an AUX input plug. Sure, this has the benefit of not being iPod specific, but it requires that I have an additional piece of hardware between the iPod and the car to take unamplified (ie, not from the headp
  • Theme Music (Score:3, Funny)

    by Apocalypse111 (597674) on Monday September 25, 2006 @05:05PM (#16191313) Journal
    We need some intelligent control mechanisms for song selection with the iPod/car integration. For example, if the control scheme detects rapid acceleration and braking, along with heavy steering, it starts playing something from Crazy Taxi. If we just get left hand turns, then start playing music from, I dunno, Days of Thunder maybe? If the traction control system detects lots of skidding, then music from The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. Also, we'll need some microphones in the car to listen for gunfire, in which case we have a much wider selection of music to chose from.

    Remember, the point of this technology is to let you keep your hands on the wheel at all times - safer driving, you know.
    • by Wordplay (54438)
      Just so long as it's only one-way.

      "I was doing fine, until it started playing some Crash Worship."
  • Go Bluetooth (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Greyfox (87712) on Monday September 25, 2006 @05:12PM (#16191407) Homepage Journal
    I see the high-end TomTom navigator intends to have a bluetooth connection to car stereo by 4Q 2006. It'll be interesting to see how that works out...

    http://www.tomtom.com/products/features.php?ID=212 &Category=0&Lid=4 [tomtom.com]

  • Alpine iPod (Score:2, Informative)

    by TadMSTR (996071)
    I have an Alpine deck, forget which model off hand. Anyway it has an input for an ipod and you are able to control the ipod through the deck. Only down side is when you go to scroll through your music it always starts from the beginning. Its not like the ipod where it starts where you last were. Other than that it works great. It even displays the song info on the deck and you have a few different scroll/display options.
    • Ha, that's true. I still have my 5 year old Alpine deck and never bought an iPod, so I haven't thought about this much, but that's pretty obvious.

      The best way to integrate an iPod with your car is to buy a deck. Works with all makes and models. I don't know why you'd spend that much on an iPod and then keep your stock deck anyway.
  • by 7Prime (871679) on Monday September 25, 2006 @05:21PM (#16191583) Homepage Journal

    There is one option that he forgot to mention, when going over a final rundown of solutions to use: the generic, CD changer interface that doesn't try to read a specific playlist, and you simply control it with your iPod. Seriously, there is NO better interface to control an iPod than the iPod itself, and I'm sorry, but the difference between an interface display with a 10 point font and a 12 point font is really insignificant (especially when one you can hold right in front of you when operating it), so just use the fucking iPod itself.

    What I've done, on my '99 Camry, was I bought a "Blitzsafe" iPod adaptor, which plugs into the generic CD Changer port behind the console. I then built a little custom mount, using a modified Vaja case "rivet clip", to be able to quickly pull the iPod in and out of the mount, and attatched it to the top of my dashboard. This way, the rivet clip itself, on my case, acts as the mounting bracket. I left enough cable so that I can pull the iPod up to my face (while at a traffic light, or during light traffic), and operate it normally. If I'm just switching tracks, I'll just use the clickwheel. I've never seen a simpler, more reliable, safer, and more user-friendly iPod integration system than this.

    Basically, all I'm trying to say is that with a little research and some ingenuity, anyone can create something far better, and far cheaper than the ones shown here. Everyone has their own way of using their iPod: some people use playlists, others don't, some people put their iPod in a leather case, some put it in a clear rubber one, some (stupid people) don't put the iPod in any case and let it scratch to hell. From what I've noticed, is that most these iPod integration systems virtually require that you 1) use playlists (I don't) and 2) not have your iPod in a case. My suggestion, build your own out of generics if you have the time, then you can customize it to your own style of usage.

  • I have spent quite some time evaluating the current situation of iPod integration capabilities of various car hifi products. And the result? Most manufacturers that brag about iPod compatible head units offer terrible capabilities, most of which were mentioned in other posts (lack of control, only a few (6-10) visible directories ...). This manufacturer shitlist includes names like Sony, Blaupunkt, Kenwood, Pioneer and VDO. According to a very good car hifi dealership in my neighborhood Alpine and Becker
    • by philipgar (595691)
      I have a kenwood system, and overall it isn't too bad. The player was nothing special, just a couple year old head unit that supported the cd changer interface (and track names etc) as well as they're ipod interface that plugs into it.

      The setup has a couple different modes where you can browse through artists, playlists, and albums (i think). The downside is that the system is slow. scrolling through artists took a couple seconds to do, so obviously looking through a long list is not practical. I have s
  • Bad reporting (Score:4, Informative)

    by tkrotchko (124118) * on Monday September 25, 2006 @06:05PM (#16192215) Homepage
    The guy talks about the Dension unit as FM only and uses RDS. That may be true for the version he looked at, but Dension offers several models, most with full integration with the car bus for many cars. I have the iBus version and it sends information to the head unit about tracks, and offers a relatively decent interface using steering wheel controls already built into the car.

    The sound is fine, since it goes directly from the connector on the iPod into the car stereo. It looks somewhat like a CD changer to the car, but that's only of consequence if you use playlists (I listen to full albums). You have full control over the iPod by scrolling through the album/artist lists and choosing an album or artist that suits you. Installation is relatively painless and allows you to manipulate the ipod fairly safely. I think it's the best interface out there. Another great use of this interface is that it charges your iPod as you play.

    There are many other units; some are better than others. But this writer is blissfully unaware of the actual good interfaces that are out there.

    And I agree with another poster here about the Honda interface. I paid almost $200 for it, and the interface is so awful on it that my wife refuses to use it. It's beyond bad. It stretches into that territory that is so comically bad that you have to wonder what product line manager looked at it and said "Oh, that's not so bad, we can ship".
  • by thule (9041) on Monday September 25, 2006 @06:20PM (#16192421) Homepage
    Cars that have satellite radio interfaces in them can adapt better to iPods. Many iPod interfaces use the CD changer interface which does not have a way of sending back a track title. With the satellite interface the title *can* be sent back to the radio. This doesn't necessarily help the overall control of the iPod, but it will display something other than TR04.

    For us people that want our SatRad *and* iPod there are interfaces that will allow easy switching between the iPod and the SatRad.
  • by catwh0re (540371) on Monday September 25, 2006 @07:14PM (#16193033)
    I think this is less a case of Apple doing a poor job, and rather the specific car manufacturer doing a bad implementation. In any case car companies are pretty happy updating their consoles with each revision... so even though it's an Audi which is supposed to be a nice car, and the console is currently unusable, it will be better in the next revision. (Cars often get system updates at services.)
  • iPod Hookup (Score:4, Informative)

    by localman (111171) on Monday September 25, 2006 @07:49PM (#16193413) Homepage
    I've hooked my iPod up with four different devices over the past couple years with aftermarket devices; the quality varies greatly. I skipped the FM and tape units as the sound quality isn't satisfactory. So these were all direct-in solutions, using the dock connector and the CD-changer hookup that most cars have today. The one that I most recently installed is called the DICE [densionusa.com], and I'm really happy with it. Previous tries had problems with the iPod not always shutting down or starting up automatically when the car was turned on and off, and some of them would introduce odd noises now and again. But the DICE hasn't exhibited any of these problems, and also has some really cool extras like text display of the artist/song if your stereo does CD text, and steering wheel control while still allowing direct control with the iPod.

    Anyways, that worked well for me!

    Cheers.
  • I have a 2006 VW Passat. I love the car, but if I had known the the iPod integration was going to be as bad as it is, I wouldn't have bothered.

    The iPod is, effectively, treated as a 6 disk analog CD changer, with the first five playlists (alphabetically) and the whole library comprising the virtual "disks." No track info is displayed, just numbers. And if a playlist (or the library) has more than 100 tracks, then you only get the track%100, which makes skipping around (which you do a track at a time with th
  • I got it with my Xterra. My needs are minimal so it suits me fine.

    Here are my wishes:

    #1 - I wish I had more control from the steering wheel. I can't scan through playlists or artists or whatever with the steering wheel, I have to lean over and use one of the knobs or arrow buttons.

    #2 - I wish I could navigate into Artist then Album. You only have one level of navigation. However, in my case I long ago had set up a playlist for every album I have on my iPod. I did it because there were way too many

  • by drsmithy (35869) <drsmithyNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday September 25, 2006 @09:43PM (#16194329)
    While the new trend towards mobile-phone-esque "docking cradles" is a distinct improvement from the "poke a cable out in the glovebox and plug the ipod in there" of early efforts, it still sucks.

    I want a head unit that I stick the ipod unit into like a cassette tape.

    *That* would be "iPod integration".

  • CD Charger? Last time I checked around, it was called a CD Changer, as in "changes CDs for you"...

    I dunno, but this guy writing this article seems like a pissy whiner. "Pioneer didn't contact me... I'll never buy from them ever." It seems that Pioneer is making a pretty good iPod interface. I'm impressed they've maintained the same bus throughout the years... I could still plug my 12 disc CHANGER into a new head unit... along with this iPod adapter.

    ---from Pioneer Electronics ---
  • by SnprBoB86 (576143) on Monday September 25, 2006 @09:52PM (#16194407) Homepage
    Car stereos that offer miniplugs are the best. This is THE WAY to do music player integration without the expense.
    • I don't suppose anyone has a rational explanation for something that's been bugging me for the past quarter of a century. Well, one other than "car companies and car stereo manufacturers are run by right daft bastards".

      It's still a matter of amazement to me that a stereo mini plug hasn't been a standard part of all car audio systems since, oh, about 1980 at the latest.

      I mean, we're talking about a feature that would cost them pennies per unit in a device.

      The only vaguely rational explanation is that they're
      • I mean, we're talking about a feature that would cost them pennies per unit in a device.

        Right there - re-read it again, then go google up on the story behind the "exploding Pinto"...

        The gist of that story was that Ford made the Pinto with a "saddle fuel tank" - that is, the fuel tank straddled the rear drive shaft of the vehicle. When the Pinto was in a rear-end accident, there was a high probability that the axle would be pushed up and into the fuel tank. There was also a small bolt involved, but the main

  • by Yer Mom (78107)

    Just strap one of these babies [apple.com] to the dash and you're good...

  • I've been futzing around with iPod integration for the last couple years, trying a couple different solutions and, every 6 months or so, trolling all the various electronics shops looking for new head units, and I've come to one unavoidable conclusion: head units suck. They're screwed up in many ways, not least of which is a useless focus on form over function, but that's a rant for another day. When it comes to iPod integration (or XM, which I've also been playing with), they're totally useless. Many of
  • The best solution would be for Steve and Johnny Ive to design an Apple branded in-dash head unit that major car manufacturers could offer as an optional accessory for new cars. It should have 802.11n and be able to sync wirelessly to your home computer while it sits in the driveway or garage. No iPod to plug in, It IS an iPod that happens to be semi-permanantly mounted in the dash.

    Once Apple takes over the car-space and has a micro computer and Wi-Fi in every new car...imagine the possibilities!
  • At the last Apple special event, Steve Jobs was almost bragging about the fact that 70% of new cars sold in the U.S. this year had (optional!) iPod 'integration' available ... Obviously, he didn't talk about the rest of the world. But most of all, what Steve didn't tell us is how crappy the existing "integration" solutions actually are!

    How is this Apples fault? Not to sound like a fan boy (which I'm not) the point here is that 70% of motor manufacturers selling cars in the US are offering some level of
  • When I got my new car last year, I wanted to be able to do mp3s. I went out and got an iPod and an iTrip. That was thrown away as soon as I got in the car. I live in Toronto, and there is approximately 1 free spot on the FM dial that you can get FM on for the iTrip, and even it gets overrun sometimes. I found the quality horrible, so blah. Next was a tape adapter .. that worked great, but was messy (cables for audio and charging). VW didn't offer an iPod integration kit at that time, and 3rd party kit

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