How many times has this happened to you? You’re rounding the Warsteiner-Kurve at the Nürburgring at about 3 lateral Gs and your iPad Mini flies out the window of your Porsche 997 GT2 and lands on a hausfrau’s schnitzel, and she exclaims, “Mein Gott in Himmel!”
Well, that’s happened to me plenty of times, which is why I was instantly transfixed when I saw this Youtube video. It stars Rob DeCrane, general manager of Soundwaves of Tampa, showing off his shop’s trick way to mount an iPad mini on the dashboard of a car. Instead of fumbling with the tablet on the center console or watching it fly out the window, you can simply slide it inside Rob’s bezel. It’s securely snug there, and ready to rock.
The iPad’s 9.7-inch screen is a tad too big, and too ostentatious, for most dashboards, and an iPhone’s 4-inch screen is too small, especially when you’re checking your Like’s while cornering at 3 lateral Gs. But the mini’s 7.9-inch screen is just right – about the size of a double-DIN. That’s why Rob’s bezel makes perfect sense.
Voila! You’ve got a device with its own controller, storage, Internet, and cell upfront on the dash. The mini connects to the vehicle’s audio system via Bluetooth, making it easy to play some tunes, watch a video, punch up Slacker, check your Facebook page, or make a call. The mini lacks GPS, but the cell version lets you navigate. For pure cool factor, throw in a Bluetooth backup camera. Moreover, when you park, it’s easy to take the mini with you, obviating the whole broken window/theft thing.
The car stereo aftermarket used to be a thriving business. Then carmakers decided to take the business over for themselves by building non-DIN radios and dashboards, making it a royal pain or almost impossible to upgrade with a new (DIN) radio. Now, with the mini, there’s yet another nail in the car-audio aftermarket coffin.
Of course, an iPad mini on the dash is just an exemplar. Soon you’ll see bezels for every sort of tablet, and soon thereafter, you’ll probably see a tablet on every dashboard. It’s interesting that an aftermarket (computers) takes back from carmakers what they took from another aftermarket (car audio).
In conclusion, I think we can all agree that tablets in dashboards is indeed better than bratwurst. But, it’s not quite as good as bratwurst cooked in beer, particularly if served with sauerkraut. Tablets in cars is extremely exciting, but let’s try to keep some perspective.
Ken C. Pohlmann is well known as an audio educator, consultant, and author. He is a professor emeritus at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, and the author of numerous articles and books, including Principles of Digital Audio and Master Handbook of Acoustics.
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