iPod's popularity certainly has a major say in the Car audio industry today, not directly from apple but from the millions of iPod users. Due to the massive amounts of people who regularly use iPod's on a daily if not hourly basis Car Audio Brands and Vehicle Manufacturers have had to redefine how car audio and entertainment works and what is expected from each component within the system.
Vehicle manufacturers are more aware of the demands of the public and use additional add-ons as a selling point in an aid to promote new ranges and vehicles. However the majority of factory iPod kits are simply an AUX input into the audio system. This allows music to be played through the speaker system, which for some users is enough. However this option does not offer any of the more advanced features that aftermarket kits do.
So the big question is do vehicle manufacturers see a future with iPod car kits or are they waiting for the next big invention?
The investments from Car Audio Brands suggest that the iPod is going to be here for a minimum of several years. The larger brands such as Dension, Alpine & Kenwood have taken iPod integration to the next level, although in separate directions. Alpine & Kenwood have built fully iPod compatible aftermarket stereos, with new features such as imprint technology & HD screens that allow users to configure the components depending on music quality and type. Combined with Made for iPod & iPhone you can get the most out of your iPod by finding and playing music and videos much easier than ever before.
Dension however has made larger strides by combining iPod technology with factory fitted equipment. The Dension Gateway range provides an iPod connection to your factory fitted stereo, ensuring that the original look is maintained. The Dension Kits also provide Steering wheel control for the iPod and music, Text display on a lot of vehicles including the new CAN cluster display vehicles within the VW & Audi Group and the retention of your CD Changer via a CD Retention Kit at additional cost.
However it's the new components that Dension are developing that offer the greater indication of where iPod integration may be heading?
The soon to be released AVR is designed to work with the gateway 500 fiber optic kit allows different sources of entertainment to be played simultaneously, So for example the adults might want to listen to their favorite music in the front of the vehicle while the kids enjoy their favorite DVD in the back. This step is a major advance in the car entertainment world and will open up several avenues for further development in the future.
Another one of Dension's products nearing completion is the Wi-Drive, this device when complete will allow you to integrate your vehicle into the wireless home network, and this has many advantages at first glance. Such as instant file transfer from computer to vehicle and vice versa. However this device holds many more possibilities than first anticipated. A wireless internet network connection can be made with the use of mobile USB dongle currently available from various mobile networks providing internet access to all of the users in your vehicle.
The possibilities of car audio and entertainment & iPod integration in the future are endless, devices such as the AVR and the Wi-Drive will open up many avenues for the next stage of development. For example;
Security devices could be invented that provide live streaming from the vehicle to your own computer monitoring your vehicles safety combined with "web cams" installed in your vehicle you could see exactly what happening to your car live. Live streaming or the download of music and videos from iTunes could be played on TV screens installed in the vehicle through the use of the Wi-drive and AVR while you're on your journey, simply select and go through your iPod to choose all the latest Apple iTunes has to offer.
Television channels broadcasting live online could be watch instantly allowing new entertainment channels to be integrated into future vehicles, controllable at various points in the car. Maybe the kids want to watch different TV channels? No Problem now.
One thing is clear, the Car audio and entertainment business is moving on. New and improved technology being created continually and the iPod certainly can be at the center of it all.