Wednesday, April 7, 2010

First Ever iPad Installed in Car Dashboard (GREAT IDEA)

I assumed someone would eventually find a way to install an iPad in their car dashboard but I never thought it would literally be the weekend the iPad was released. Some people have no damn patience!  This has been done before with Mac Mini's but the iPad installation might be the simplest way to get a "computer" in your vehicle.
I thought this was a little ridiculous at first but once I actually saw it installed in the dash with access to everything at your fingertips, I realized that this is actually a perfect usage of the iPad. It brings music and video to your vehicle at a very affordable price. Most in-dash flip screen receivers with DVD players usually cost about $1-$2K and they don't even show video unless you are parked. A Mac Mini is around the same price as an iPad but you need a separate screen which is probably going to be another $500.  Having a touch screen in your dash for $500 (plus a custom installation if you can't do it yourself) is just unreal!

As everyone probably knows by now since the iPad has been in the news non-stop for the past week, you can listen to Pandora, use iTunes, watch YouTube, search the internet or use any of the thousands of Apps.  Being able to do that right from the driver's seat of your car makes the iPad that much cooler.  It's like you are stretching your iPhone and sticking it in the dash of your car instead of keeping it on the seat or a window mount where you can barely see the screen. How can you not love this idea?

The two issues I see (other than the obvious distraction of keeping your eyes off the road) are the glare on the super reflective screen and the lack of 3G internet (on this particular unit at least). The iPad in this video has to be WiFi only since the 3G iPad doesn't come out for a few more weeks. That means that you can only use a fraction of it's functionality unless you are within range of a free WiFi signal.

I'm not sure why the dude who is getting this installed in his vehicle didn't wait for the 3G model but maybe they have some other internet options or just have no patience. There are some mobile internet options for your vehicle but they are a little cost prohibitive for most people.  I guess you could technically set up a signal from your laptop with a 3G card but that seems like a pain in the ass and it's just one more thing you have in your car that can be stolen.  The internet options on the 3G iPad are really affordable ($14.99 per month for 250 MB data and $29.99 for unlimited data plan) so that is probably the best way to go with an in-dash installation like this, as long as it can still catch a strong signal in the dash of the car.  We won't know if that's possible for at least a few more weeks. 

I also hope this guy has an easy way of docking the iPad so the owner can take it in and out of the dash to take it out of the car because otherwise, he is just asking for someone to break in and steal it.  I'm sure I will be posting Part 2 once the installation is complete because I am really curious how this will all work out.  I need to do this!  So sick! 
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