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Additional info about Alpine iPod Interface

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By Dennis Lloyd

Publisher, iLounge
Published: Tuesday, September 14, 2004
News Categories: iPod

Alpine has launched a Flash site titled “Take your iPod for a drive” with additional details about how the iPod interface works, an interactive demo, and a dealer locator.

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Comments

1

Really looks quite nice.

If I had an extra $X00 sitting around, and if people would stop stealing my car stereos, maybe I’d consider upgrading my factory tape deck. :-D

Posted by Jerrod H. in TX on September 14, 2004 at 7:17 PM (PDT)

2

Just sold a car, profits go 100% into my Passat, including an Alpine iPod system.  Even have a dealer 2 miles down the road.  I’ll be the first in the door in Oct. when the ‘verter is available!

Posted by Mike on September 14, 2004 at 7:55 PM (PDT)

3

The Alpine iPod kit sounded like a good idea until I saw the demo. The simplicity of navigating the iPod’s content is gone when you operate the Alpine unit. It would be a lot easier to simply select the song from the iPod itself. Alpine will propably sell these to recent customers with iPods but for the rest of us the Neo iON is a better alternative.

Posted by Sol on September 14, 2004 at 8:13 PM (PDT)

4

I was at the local Good Guys electronics store yesterday and they told me they had over 300 names on a waiting list for the interface.  Said they will getting more then enough units to cover the list.

Posted by Ace Fury on September 14, 2004 at 8:53 PM (PDT)

5

I’ve been waiting for this to become available for some time…

I’ve looked at the demo, I could probably put up with the slightly cumbersome way of interacting with the system. but what is not clear to me is whether you can select a group of songs to play.

By this I mean: normally on the iPod itself I select an artist, then just play an album (or even all tracks sometimes) by that artist. The demo only shows choosing an artist, then a track (no mention of Albums) to play, no mention of what track it plays after the one you selected.

Any guesses anyone?

Posted by Arturus on September 14, 2004 at 10:56 PM (PDT)

6

My guess is that like the iPod, it will play the track you select, followed by the next track from the same album or playlist.

Posted by Sol on September 15, 2004 at 4:38 AM (PDT)

7

It sounds like the interface basically simulates 3 different MP3 “discs” in a simulated MP3 “changer”. The first disc is organized by playlist, the 2nd by Artist, and the 3rd by Album.

In the demo, they show a CDA-9833 head unit ($450 retail) which allows for 2 lines of display with 12 characters each. It seems as if you would need this or the CDA-9835 ($550 retail) to get the most info as the other models only have a single line or 2 lines with fewer characters.

Posted by MEJ on September 15, 2004 at 7:14 AM (PDT)

8

Is there a random feature with the Alpine unit?  I like to randomly play all the songs on my Ipod.  Doesn’t look like that’s possible here.

Posted by Ed on September 15, 2004 at 7:37 AM (PDT)

9

Of course there is a random feature. I use my alpine mp3 headunit every day. There is a button to shuffle songs in the current folder/playlist, or you can shuffle folders (shuffle albums, artists, playlists for the ipod). Alpine is the $hit and they know what they are doing. I have the 9827, but thinking about upgrading to the 9835 just for the better display. Wattage doesnt matter because all my speakers are amped.

Posted by Skitals on September 15, 2004 at 8:49 AM (PDT)

10

I wonder if the interface is better with one of their multimedia head units.  I am thinking about getting the new one with the pulse feedback as I would like a DVD player as well.

Hope it’s easier to use with that…as I agree…after going therough the demo I am a little deflated.  Thats a pretty cruddy interface.

Posted by Mike on September 15, 2004 at 4:59 PM (PDT)

11

Well if you’ve dumped a lot of money into an iPod and don’t have much left over then you might want to consider this alternative.

The PIE Auxilary input converter,
http://www.pie.net/catsec_aux.htm

Then use the Belkin Auto Charger, http://store.apple.com/1-800-MY-APPLE/WebObjects/AppleStore?productLearnMore=T6715LL/A

I’ve mounted all of this behind the dash including the Belkin, the dock conecter is passed through the dash.  Use your mounting device of choice… I prefer the type that leave little trace behind when the iPod is not in the car. (No need to create extra excitement for potential thieves)

And the sound is great… for a stock radio.

—tennr

Posted by tennr on September 15, 2004 at 7:02 PM (PDT)

12

I’ve got the same system as Tennr.  The PIE aux adapter and the belkin auto charge.  Very cost effective.  I get volume control on my Honda Pilot steering wheel.  All other controlling is done at the iPod, which for the price is not a bad deal.

-Gremz

Posted by Gremz on September 15, 2004 at 7:31 PM (PDT)

13

I’ve been using a cassette-type adapter, which I find is much better than an iTrip—- the sound is much, much better.  As for the Alpine interface, it seems pretty sano to me, as intuitive as an iPod, just different.  And being able to keep the iPod in the glove box is a plus, AFAIAC.

I’m getting the 9827.  Took some info to my local shop, and for some reason they were insisting that I couldn’t use this unit with the iPod interface.  The 9827’s color scheme matches my VW;  the 9825 which they were pushing does not.  I must have said at least five times “the literature from Alpine says any Ai-net unit will work…”.  I thought he must have lost his mind, as he was basically ignoring the printed pages in front of him.

After about 20 minutes, the guy realized what I was asking about was a box, not some dongle coming out of the back of the head unit (because he actually took the time to read the literature).

Anyway, I’m getting my 9827 Friday, and I’ve got the first iPod unit off the truck when it comes in.

Posted by Mike on September 15, 2004 at 7:52 PM (PDT)

14

if i had to go through all my artists and all of the songs of that artist, i would want at least 5 or 6 lines.  and if this thing doesnt have the accelerating scrolling like the ipod does, it seems like a huge and costly mistake.  i would think doing what tennr did makes a whole lot more sense.  leave the navigating to the ipods perfect interface.  it doesnt make sense to control it on the dash.  i can understand the argument of keeping your ipod in the glove compartment being safer, but still you have an alpine stereo.  with the belkin and pie, you would have the 1 cable for your ipod.  just think about how hard scrolling through all your artists would be.  thats a huge problem for me.

Posted by just think about it on September 15, 2004 at 8:43 PM (PDT)

15

I think you avoid the whole scrolling thing with playlists, yes?  In my mind, any time need to scroll around a lot, even with the iPod, you are wasting time and adding frustration.  Generally, I might search/scroll for a few seconds when putting on my iPod the first time that day, but after that I’m done.

*shrug*

Posted by Mike on September 16, 2004 at 7:59 AM (PDT)

16

i see what you mean.  im kinda easily bored, so i tend to jump around a lot in my library.  i do try to simplify things by making a playlist, but after a while of listening to it, i usually think of something else id rather hear. 

i cant deny that this looks like a nice clean connection, though.  at least you dont have to deal (as much) with wiring power to the ipod, as you would with the belkin setup. 

Posted by just think about it on September 16, 2004 at 10:27 AM (PDT)

17

I was ready to put down a deposit on this thing yesterday when it hit me - it just isn’t there yet.

1) 2 lines of text on the Radio Screen vs 6 lines on the iPod.  (one of the 3 Alpine models available has one line of text)
2) Volume knob vs. scroll wheel, no difference really. 
3) Radio will be approx. 6 inches closer to driver than the ipod will, some but no big benefit.
4) costly.  $500 for the cheapest setup when you can buy a radio transmitter (I love the monster cable one) for $50

The main benefit of this setup is that the iPod is hardwired into the stereo - the sound will be better than a radio transmitter, but for 10 times the cost, it better sound incredible. 

Some company out there will realize that they can made an ipod slide into the body of a radio, like sliding a memory chip into a digital camera.  Make it expensive, people will still buy it for the following reasons

1) Looks cool
2) No dumb looking cords
3) pop it in the car it disappears, if I use the Alpine, I have to take it out of the car every time I park or risk theft.


I’d pay $600 for this in a heartbeat.  Have it accept both CD and an ipod and I might even pay more. 

Posted by No Time For Alpine on September 16, 2004 at 10:48 AM (PDT)

18

It is expensive.  To me, however, it’s a $100 premium, as I’m putting in a new head, regardless.  I may be the last person in the world with a stock radio, but then again, there may be zero after Friday.

I agree, the best thing would be to have the iPod slide in, somehow.  Lines on-screen?  For now, I don’t see how you could get much more in the space you’ve got (on a head).  Realize that Alpine makes those cool retractable LCD displays, but they start at around $1200.  I think right now that the only way the display situation will improve over 2-3 lines is that kind of choice.

Posted by Mike on September 16, 2004 at 12:47 PM (PDT)

19

I have an Alpine unit with a flip screen. How will the interface look on that?

Also, that demo just refused to load on my PC, and some friends. Hopefully a temporary hiccup.

Posted by Graham on September 16, 2004 at 3:13 PM (PDT)

20

About the flip screen—- we got all excited when a number of sites (including MacWorld) seemed to imply the interface included that big, beautiful LCD screen.  I’m assuming that you’d get all the track info?  What does the LCD show now if you have an mp3 playing?  Is there any interaction with/from the ID3 tags?

Posted by Mike on September 16, 2004 at 6:49 PM (PDT)

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