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Media (Apple) Businesses Media Apple

Alpine Announces Release Date of iPod Interface 35

Terrasque writes "Alpine finally announced the release of the iPod interface for its Ai-NET head units." Previously mentioned a few weeks ago, it charges your iPod, and does control and display of iPod tracks on the head unit.
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Alpine Announces Release Date of iPod Interface

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  • It's HHUUUUUGE! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 14, 2004 @03:04PM (#9700323)
    I can't figure out why this iPod adapter is 2X the size of the box that my iPod was shipped in. Good lord, where am I going to install that beast?
  • Before you say it (Score:5, Interesting)

    by the Man in Black ( 102634 ) <<jasonrashaad> <at> <gmail.com>> on Wednesday July 14, 2004 @03:05PM (#9700334) Homepage
    The first person to say "Blah blah blah why don't they make one for (generic off-brand mp3 player that supports Ogg and 40 people own)! They're just supporting Apple's monopoly!" gets stabbed in the chest.

    For the rest of us, this is a wonderful, beautiful thing. I personally don't have the home fab equipment that it takes to custom build an iPod dock and stereo interface, and I LOVE Alpine components. I am a happy camper.
    • Yea I would like one for my Rio Karma. Which I would not call a generic off-brand mp3 player and I would bet is owned by more than 40 people. And yes it does support Ogg and Flac.
      As far as the IPod being supported I can see the point Apple has sold a ton of these and there is no standard for interfacing an MP3 player. It is logical for them to support the Ipod. I have to wonder how long it will be until they start including a small hard drive on the car stereo themselves. Hook up you Ipod or any usb/firewi
      • Of course there's a standard. (Standards, anyway.) We have USB and Firewire interconnect. We have vfat and hfs file systems (and maybe ext2/3, jffs2, and ufs). We have mp3, Ogg, and AAC file formats.

        Let the in-dash gadget treat your player as an external drive, and play whatever's on it. How hard could it be?
        • True enough. Too bad my Karma does not look like a mass storage device. I guess that is one of it's failings. Does the IPod look like a an external drive ? I thoght there was some odd stuff about the music files on it.
          • An iPod looks like an external Firewire drive with an HFS or VFAT file system on it. (People even boot from them!) Of course the AAC files are encrypted, so the in-dash unit vendor would need Apple's help to decode them, just as it would need MS's help to decode WMV.

            Most MP3 player gadgets do look like a file system. It's nice to know that Karma doesn't; now I know not to get one.
            • I must nit-pick:
              Protected AAC files are encrypted. AAC on its own is not encrypted, you just need to get a license from Dolby [vialicensing.com] to use it.
              I bring this up only because many people (not intelligent slash-dotters, of course) seem to think that all AAC files are encrypted and only Apple-blessing allows you to read them. That's only true for iTMS files.
  • Must buy 2 items (Score:5, Interesting)

    by blackmonday ( 607916 ) on Wednesday July 14, 2004 @03:07PM (#9700362) Homepage
    Looks like you need the interface box and one of the stereos, so you're buying 2 items, the interface being 100 bucks. Wouldn't it be easier to make the CD player optional by moving it to a changer box in the trunk or whatever, and slide the iPod in just like a cassette? I don't like this glove compartment stuff too much.

    • by GlobalEcho ( 26240 ) on Wednesday July 14, 2004 @03:25PM (#9700594)
      Hold on, it's not like the BMW glovebox interface. They appear to expect the iPod to be mounted near your dashboard -- say with a bracket that clips onto your A/C vents.

      I agree with you about the "cassette" receptacle, though. It would be much neater. Perhaps they went with this design because it is less dependent on iPod form factors...future iPods may be smaller, wider, whatever, and the system will presumably continue to work with them.
      • by cft_128 ( 650084 ) on Wednesday July 14, 2004 @04:01PM (#9701056)
        I agree with you about the "cassette" receptacle, though. It would be much neater. Perhaps they went with this design because it is less dependent on iPod form factors...future iPods may be smaller, wider, whatever, and the system will presumably continue to work with them.

        Another advantage to hiding the iPod away is to make it harder see and therefore less likely to get stolen. Having a normal looking head unit also supports this. As you might have guessed I've had easy to remove items, an iPod and a laptop, stolen from my car - even when they were *very* hard to see. I am much more likely to buy an interface that lets me mount the iPod somewhere that is totally hidden.

      • Quoting from the link provided in the article: (italics, bold added by me) Not only is it easy to connect, you can also fit the KCA-420i under the dash, in the trunk or under the seat for mounting applications. There's no need to worry about the iPod , you can stash it in your glove compartment out of sight and out of mind. Less wires and simple storage keeps your interior clutter-free.
  • $300+ (Score:4, Informative)

    by mothoc ( 307671 ) on Wednesday July 14, 2004 @04:05PM (#9701114)
    The Alpine website seems to show that their cheapest Ai-Net head unit (required for this) is $200, and then another $100 for the unit itself. SO to set yourself up with this, it will be at least $300 plus installation, and then you get your iPod sitting in a glovebox, cupholder, or somewhere else as inconvenient. But it'd still be nice to have.
    • The interface was more expensive than I expected, but the head units were cheaper than I expected. I thought this would only work with the top-of-the-notch models.
      I don't know how much sense it would make to put one of these solutions in my cheap-ass car, but I really like the idea. Yumm! All my music, in the car too!
    • Re:$300+ (Score:4, Informative)

      by Micro$will ( 592938 ) on Wednesday July 14, 2004 @11:39PM (#9704302) Homepage Journal
      Before anyone else complains about the price, remember, this is an Alpine , not some cheezy no-name brand or over-hyped piece of crap. I've had 2 Alpines over the last 6 years, I've never had any problems with them, and I've only heard them skip once or twice each while on NYC streets. I'd also like to add that those potholes were bad enough to require 2 new tires and a rim straightened.

      Full featured, reliable, cheap: pick two. You get what you pay for.
      • Oh, I wasn't complaining. I was just pointing out that it wouldn't be "cheap" or that they just lay out $100 total for the ability to play their iPod on an Alpine system in the Honda. It will require more than the amount mentioned in the article. I put an Alpine in my first car, and loved every minute of it until it was stolen (the head unit, not the car). I've just stuck with factory systems since then.

        I have no problems paying $200-$300 for the Alpine head unit plus another $100 for the iPod system.
        • Alpine systems also have a no frill ($15) adapter that will allow any player to be connected to the head unit, provided you aren't using the CD changer. They have another adapter that will let you do both for $50, however neither solution includes a charger, head unit external player controls, or display the current song.
    • You could always save some money and buy a BMW...

  • by Euphonious Coward ( 189818 ) on Wednesday July 14, 2004 @04:08PM (#9701130)
    It would have helped if the lead story had actually said what this thing is that it was promoting. I had visions of some kind of headset with electromagnetic neurocouplers to bypass my (damaged) ears.

    Instead, it's just some damn car accessory, and I don't even have a car (or an iPod, for that matter.)
  • I think it is a great idea. I am going to buy the alpine unit for my car. The iPod by far is the best mp3 player. If you have used any other brands you would know that. I think that it is great that two great companies team up to make their products even better.
  • by cft_128 ( 650084 ) on Wednesday July 14, 2004 @04:11PM (#9701158)
    From the article:
    The great news is that 2004 Alpine Ai-NET head units are equipped with a proprietary technology which enhances sound quality and restores lost detail to compressed digital media.
    What magic are they working here? Just some goofy equalizer presets? Use tachyon fields to make out the quantum temporal disturbances to restore previously lost detail?
  • by ZiggyM ( 238243 ) *
    I was just researching this a few weeks ago, and found these adapters [rcainput.com] to be a cheaper option, prices range from $30 to $120 depending on the player model, and they carry most car and aftermarket stereos. Note that its only an audio interface, it does not interface with the stereo display. However, its cheaper, and works in alpine and most other brands. Hooks up through the CD changer interface on the back.
    • I did simalr research about a year or so ago. I wanted to build an mp3 player for my V70 (uses Alpine OEM) AND run it from the head unit via the cd changer controls and LCD. I did find one from Volkol, but all you get is the rca inputs, no signaling, so you need an external LCD and control (like the Crystal Fontz 633). This market is just at its infancy, if Alpine beat the other stereo vendors to market opening up their CD changer protocol (or just make it something simple top of RS232) just think of a
  • by hcdejong ( 561314 ) <hobbes AT xmsnet DOT nl> on Thursday July 15, 2004 @04:37AM (#9705422)
    If you use the Apple/BMW solution, you lose the CD changer, and you get access to only five playlists. The Alpine solution means you can still use a CD changer, and you can use your existing playlists (all of them).
    But is it worthwhile? Both solutions mean you replace the iPod's UI with the IMO far worse UI in the headunit. I'd cradle the iPod within easy reach and just use a line-level audio link to the headunit instead.
    • by parksgm ( 723709 ) on Thursday July 15, 2004 @04:40PM (#9711609)
      I don't think any of you people who recommend using the iPod interface in the car over using an Alpine head unit interface have ever actually tried using an iPod in the car while driving.

      It's almost impossible.

      Same goes for using the iPod while running, bicycling, or any other activity in which one cannot really take their attention away from the activity. The iPod screen (and especially the iPod mini screen) is small, and hard to read when the user is anything but stationary. Don't believe me? Then why did Apple make a remote to adjust volume and skip tracks to use in lieu of the iPod interface for active people.

      The controls on any in dash stereo are much larger and more easily manipulated while driving than the touch sensitive wheel on the iPod...remember, stereo controls are *designed) to be used while driving...the iPod interface is not. Stereo controls remain in relatively the same location while driving...which is not true with an iPod. Finally, the display on the Alpine unit is backlit and large...designed to be read and interpreted from driving distance in direct sunlight and at night, etc., etc.

      Most objections to this device should be that it (somewhat) expensive...but really, Alpine (who makes CD changers that they would like to sell) is producing an adapter for 3rd party device integration, and they have to charge something to cover their R&D and/or loss of CD changer sales.
      In case you can't tell, I've been waiting for this since the announcement at the beginning of the year, and I'll happily throw my iPod mini in the glove box/console or wherever else I happen to mount the docking cable...
      Greg
      • I bought my iPod *specifically* to use while driving on my new long commute. I've used it for about 6 months. I don't exercise with it or use it at home or work--it is *strictly* for car use. Takes a bit of getting used to, but it's doable, and the reason I bought the iPod is so I could have my whole collection with me. I *never* dial up a playlist and let it go. I *always* listen to a song or two, then think of another, pick it, listen, and repeat. Here's my system:

        1) click 'menu' a bunch of times to get
  • I know that somehow the controls on my 2000 Passat's steering wheel are capable of controlling the nonexistent CD-changer in my trunk.

    I have an extra iPod wire remote, is there any way that I can somehow hack these pieces of equipment to integrate my ipod with my car's stereo without paying hundreds of dollars?
  • I used to connect my iPod to my car stereo, with a cheap cassete adapter. Worked, but the sound was not that good ;-)

    When I bought a new car stereo I bought one with a AUX input on the front in the form of a mini jack. It's quite nice to be able to connect your iPod in this simple way, and have your girlfriend play the DJ!

    It would be nice if more car stereo manufactures would create front panel AUX connections (like Aiwa). These connections are compatible with any MP3 or whatever player.

  • If this means my 2003 Alpine 7897 Face won't work I'm going to be seriously ticked off. All the recent ones have AI-Net. Oh well the other option is to buy the ai-net to rca adaptor and run your own rca outs.. then you just have to control it on the ipod but that's not that big of a deal.

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