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Alpine ships 2-DIN iPhone media unit for cars

updated 02:45 pm EDT, Thu April 16, 2009

Alpine W404 Ships

Alpine this afternoon said it has started shipping the iXA-W404, its first touchscreen media head-end for cars to occupy 2 DIN slots. The device centers on a 4.3-inch touchscreen that lets users navigate the media content of any dockable iPhone or iPod, including through quick skipping tricks for larger collections. It can also play video when the vehicle isn't moving.

HD Radio also plays an important, though optional, part in the W404. In addition to tuning the higher-quality digital stations, a head-end equipped with the tuner also enables iTunes Tagging to flag songs for buying through the iTunes Store on the next iPhone or iPod sync. Satellite radio is also an option, as is a Bluetooth wireless audio adapter and using the display with Alpine's GPS devices.

The W404 should be available today for about $550; the HD radio tuner can be added for $230, while Bluetooth costs $180.






by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. MatildeMatilde

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Well, this is another tiny step in the right direction. But it's covered in gaudy blue lights and too many buttons. All it actually needs is the touch screen and possibly also a dial switch.

    When will car stereo makers tear themselves out of the eighties? Give me a product aimed at adults, please.

    My current Alpine iDA-X100 deck is a catastrophic attempt at iPod integration, and despite being the best iPod-integrated stereo available (not saying much). The iDA-X100 is better than nothing, but still not as good as plugging the iPod directly into an amplifier with a 3.5" -to-RCA cable.

    Sigh.

  1. danviento

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    on the iDAX100

    I too have one and while it's disappointing in terms of nerdy chic, it excels at letting THE DRIVER navigate their content. The whole point of the console is to provide the driver with the ability to navigate through the iPod with a minimal number of glances away from the road.

    A main dial and screen with text easily visible from the drivers seat with just a flick of the eyeballs takes care of most of the navigation. The other function buttons are raised and easy enough to navigate by feel.

    If this were a debate on what HU was best for passenger entertainment, I'd agree that you'd want to have a touchscreen interface. But since this focuses on the driver, of course you want simple tactile feedback.

    If you really want an iPodTouch floating on your dash for the passenger to navigate, then have at it. For the driver, KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE ROAD.

    Oh, and the iDXA the IMPRINT audio Processor makes my truck one of the best places to listen to music, almost better than my professional (recording) studio monitors, even with stock speakers.

  1. shawmaan

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +1

    Pioneer FH-P8000BT

    I'm a HUGE Alpine fan and have owned many of their head units over the years. The last one I had allowed an iPod to be connected and controlled by the head unit. I have an iPod Touch and with a large library it's nearly impossible to find what you want. Last summer I bought the Pioneer FH-P8000BT deck and have been very happy. It lets you choose if you want the deck or the iPod to be in control. Now I can use the great interface on the iPod Touch instead of the deck to choose what I want to listen to. Plus it has Bluetooth built in to allow hands free cell phone use.

  1. MatildeMatilde

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Shawmaan Love

    Ah, the Pioneer FH-P8000BT sounds like just the sort of deck I've been looking for! If it defers all control to my iPod Touch, I could turn off the annoying blue display on the deck and just use it as a fancy amplifier.

    The annoying thing about the Alpine decks I've had is that they all cause my iPods to lock up with a message "Accessory connected" so I am forced to search tracks through the deck.

    Thanks Shawmaan. I'm going to check out the Pioneer FH-P8000BT tonight.

    Oh, and Danviento, you're quite right. Tactile feedback is important, though I don't see the need to have quite as many buttons as decks currently have. I would much prefer to mount my iPod high up on my dashboard so I don't even have to look down at the deck to see or control it.

    Much love!

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