Apple introduced the iPad back in January as a new kind of device that fit into the space between smartphones and notebooks, a "magical and revolutionary" tool that would go where no product has gone before. And as it finds its niche in the tech ecosystem, people are experimenting with all sorts of different uses for the iPad: as an e-reader, a mobile browser, an audio-video entertainment center and more. But how about
: a car stereo… or an owner's manual?
Hyundai, the Korean automaker, is most known in the United States for its economy cars and SUVs. They have a high reputation for quality, coming in third in one survey behind Porsche and Lexus
, but are not at the top of the market like those brands. They are attempting to change that with their new Equus sedan, which they are positioning to compete with luxury cars like the BMW 7 Series, Mercedes S-class and Audi A8. And with a base price of $55,000 US, the Equus is tens of thousands of dollars cheaper than the competition, with high-end features like a 385-horsepower V-8 engine that can go from 0-60 mph in 6.8 seconds, a 608-watt, 17-speaker, 13-channel Lexicon sound system and massaging seats for the driver… and an iPad. Yes, in place of a paper owner's manual, you get an iPad with every new Hyundai Equus
. The iPad doesn't integrate with the car in any way, though: it's just a giveaway. To really see the iPad reach its full automotive potential, you have to go to the aftermarket.
SoundMan Car Audio
is a car stereo shop in the Los Angeles Area. Doug Bernards is a second-generation car stereo guy, having inherited the business from his father Steve, and he's made a reputation for "outstanding and unique custom installations," according to their website: putting in the kind of elaborate car systems that Southern California is famous for. They have wasted no time in doing what they call the "first iPad in a car
:" installing an iPad in a Toyota Tacoma truck, with separate volume, bass, and treble controls. The iPad is connected via the dock connector to an Onkyo ND-S1 digital interface, which connects to an Audison Bit One to process the audio signal and convert it to analog so that it can get boosted by a 400-watt McIntosh MCC406M six-channel amp.
Maybe nobody's quite sure exactly what an iPad is really for yet… so why not have some fun with it in the meantime? A video of the first stages of the project can be seen on the SoundMan website