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Alpine Makes Uber-iPod Head Unit

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I must start this article with an apology to those who read this – and subsequently purchased – an Alpine iPod head unit. You didn't want one of those, you want this...

Kicking sand in the eyes of all that went before it is the 'iDA-X001', the first aftermarket head unit designed for a fully integrated iPod car experience. Radical in its design, the iDA-X001 has just one built in audio source, an AM/FM tuner, and no CD/DVD slot. Instead it has a dedicated USB input which replaces the analogue cables and adaptor boxes used in previous generations (and offering 4x the speed of the 'Full Speed' Connection for iPod Cable) and an eye catching 320 x 240 pixel screen.

Furthermore, since this screen mirrors the resolution found on the iPod it can also display artist, album and track information and even album art. In fact, three screen view options are available: a) album art plus song name and track information, b) larger album art display and song name only or c) clock and calendar information.

In fact, the only downside to the whole experience is that the iDA-X001 isn't capable of playing iPod video files but, then again, if either you or your passenger is in a position to align their heads sufficiently with the screen for long periods I'd say you're probably engaged in something else...

Finally, attention should be paid to the new 'Self-Return' dial. As the name suggests it does away with endless turning in favour of an incremental speed design whereby the further it is turned the faster it scrolls before spinning back to its start position. Consequently, your wrists will be rested and left with more energy to continue whatever it is you were doing to align your head(s) with the Alpine screen earlier.

I'll leave your minds to ponder such an image while I tell you the iDA-X001 is available immediately and can be yours for £299.99. If that sounds a lot, check the receipt for your previous Alpine head unit to see what it might be worth on eBay...

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Update: You may have noticed in our thumbnail (and The CD Has Left The Building editorial) that the iDA-X001 is photographed alongside an iPod nano. This appears to be an unfortunately choice given that one enthused reader (Bav - hello!) went to buy a unit after reading this article only to be told it doesn't work with the nano, just 5G iPods with the latest firmware.

I quizzed Alpine about this and indeed got the following confession:

This is a problem that {we're} taking up with our European HQ.

Basically the iPod nano (2nd Gen) with the very latest firmware will not work on the USB connection on the iDA-X001, it will only work on {the} iPod Full Speed connection - therefore no album artwork. An iPod nano (1st gen) will however work on the USB connection and provide album artwork. We hope that on future Apple iPod software updates the facility for a USB digital transfer of music files will be become available.


So now you know. Daft choice of artwork then... in fact, so daft I thought you should see it again:



Link:
Alpine Europe

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