February 10, 2004

iPod car audio rant

Gizmodo has this today: Alpine's iPod car stereo system. This was actually anounced last month before CES (why so late on this, gizmodites?), but it's still good for a short rant.

I don't understand why car audio can't operate under the same principles of open pluggability and extensibility that home audio has used successfully for decades. It is nice that the Alpine head unit will integrate with the iPod accessory protocol, but it's a lock-in peripheral for other Alpine components that use their proprietary communication bus, Ai-NET. Okay, I do understand why Alpine wants to do this. But it's not how I want my mobile media lifestyle to work.

I guess I'm not really surprised; this is more of the same from an industry that has never seen fit to provide an AUX input to car audio, even though portable music players have been around for at least 25 years (the first Sony Walkman was made in 1979). I mean, have you used those godawful cassette-shaped adapters? Or those cheesy lo-fidelity FM modulators that have popped up for the iPod? People, how hard would it be to bring an aux jack out to the faceplate of your in-dash unit? Doesn't this seem like a no-brainer?

Okay, for a more useful, fair and emotionally balanced view, check out this article on the Crutchfield A/V site. Hey, it suggests that at least one car audio system really does have an AUX input (and it's an Alpine!), but I've certainly never seen one. Maybe I just need to get out more...

Posted by Gene at February 10, 2004 11:38 AM | TrackBack

Jensen MP3510, Slot load CD head unit, aux input on the front. http://www.onlinecarstereo.com/CarAudio/ProductDetail.aspx?ProductID=12208

Posted by: ynniv at April 23, 2004 06:57 AM

Alpine has had an AI-Net adapter providing 2 RCA AUX inputs on it for a couple of years now.

Posted by: Justin_Case at April 27, 2004 05:57 PM

Blaupunkt current receivers all have an AUX input, I use it for my iPod


Posted by: jp at May 28, 2004 07:37 AM

This is another good way to go - www.mp3yourcar.com I got one of these units and I am very happy with it. Plugs right into your stock deck.

Posted by: Silkk at October 11, 2004 02:38 PM
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