Alpine Electronics Redefines In-Dash Audio With Full iPod Integration Head Unit

Alpine

Alpine

As more and more consumers shift their preferences from CDs to digital tracks, the demand for automotive products to meet those needs is on the rise. Alpine Electronics, the industry-leading manufacturer of mobile media solutions, today introduced a radical solution to meet this demand: the iDA-X001. The iDA-X001 is the first aftermarket head unit designed for a fully integrated iPod experience in the car. The iDA-X001 has one built-in audio source, an AM/FM tuner, and no CD/DVD slot. Instead, it has a dedicated USB input to directly connect an iPod, resulting in the highest possible iPod sound quality and most iPod-like experience in the car.

As a "Made for iPod" program member, Alpine designed the iDA-X001 to allow users to naturally and quickly navigate through all of the digital content on their iPod via the head unit. Winning the 2007 CES Innovations Award in the Mobile Audio category in America helped validate the relationship between these two products.

“The iDA-X001 is all about redefining what goes into people’s dashboards,” said Graham Johnson, Sales & Marketing Director, Alpine Electronics of UK Ltd. "The iPod has become the most popular digital music player in the world and Alpine is dedicated to making the best sounding, most intuitive in-vehicle iPod experience.”

The head unit includes a colour 320 x 240 pixel TFT screen that displays artist, album and track information, and even album art from the iPod. The unit also features three screen-view options: album art plus song name and track information; larger album art display and song name only; or clock and calendar information.

Fifth-generation iPods with the latest firmware link directly to the iDA-X001 via a direct high-speed USB connection. Unlike previous solutions, which relied on an analogue interface cable or adapter box, the iDA-X001’s pure digital USB connection provides fast data transfer, quick command response and superior iPod sound. It provides full digital audio using a 24-bit Burr Brown DAC and has a built-in 50 Watt x 4 amplifier and 3 pre-outs. Alpine’s USB iPod connection is approximately 4 times faster than Alpine’s Full Speed™ Connection for iPod cable.

For earlier-generation iPods, the iDA-X001 also retains Alpine’s Full Speed for iPod Connection capabilities through the KCE-422i (sold separately, £19.99 RRP). The Full Speed cable gives access to expanded iPod search options: playlist, artist, album, song, genre, podcasts and composers (except video playlists and audiobooks). The iDA-X001 can support both a USB iPod and another iPod connected via the Full Speed cable at the same time for maximum access to consumers’ music libraries.

The iDA-X001 was built with the first fully digital iPod connection, creating the highest fidelity iPod experience in the car. The iDA-X001 has sound-tuning features such as bass and treble with centre frequency and Q adjustability, and three pairs of RCAs for system expandability. When playing music from fifth-generation iPods, the iDA-X001 has a signal-to-noise ratio that rivals CD-quality.

The iDA-X001’s self-return dial is designed to quickly search through multiple files. Its unique design allows it to access files by varying speeds, depending on the position of the dial. The centred jog dial scrolls through files and incorporates Alpine’s Quick Search™ feature, searching by playlist, artist, album, song, genre, podcast, audio book or composer. The dial turns 35 degrees to the left or right, to set the volume or browse in the Quick Search mode. When the dial is moved 11-34 degrees, it moves one line forward or backward on the search list. When turned to the 35th degree, the search speed increases for faster scrolling.

Pressing and holding the Quick Search button activates the Alphabet Search mode to scroll the list alphabetically at the rate of one second per letter. A simple “Back” button on the faceplate allows users to go back one step, no matter what menu is being used, so they can easily return to a search even while a song is playing. The jog dial and button portion of the faceplate can be removed for anti-theft purposes.

The iDA-X001 is built on Alpine’s proprietary Ai-NET BUS platform, which allows it to connect to a variety of digital media sources and formats, including DVD or CD MP3 Changers and USB-based MP3 players. The unit also is Bluetooth ready and the “phone” button allows access to the user’s address book, missed, dialled and received calls. The Bluetooth indicator shows when the Bluetooth module recognises the phone and is ready for operation (separate interface adapters and service subscriptions required).

The unit comes with the iPod dock/USB adapter and a 2-metre (maximum length) USB cable. The provided USB cable must be used to connect the iPod, as other alternative cables are not compatible. The supplied USB cable includes a locking mechanism that secures it to the back of the head unit for anti-theft purposes. When the iPod is connected and the car is running, the head unit also charges the iPod battery.

The iDA-X001 is available now from authorised Alpine dealers at a recommended retail price of £299.99. Visit www.alpine-electronics.co.uk for more information.

12 March 2007 Staff
 
 

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