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Music Technology

Alpine’s in-car iPod adapter: brilliant! And rubbish!

Hooking up an iPod to your car stereo is a wonderful thing, but if you don’t have a proper connection you’re stuck with a mess of cassette adapters and cigarette lighter chargers (or worse, iTrips). So hurrah for Alpine, makers of really nice-sounding car stereos, who have an iPod connector that gets rid of the cable clutter and makes iPod integration easy.

The single best thing about it? Listening to it.

The single worst thing about it? Using it.

I’ve seen some rotten interface design in my time, but Alpine’s approach to iPod integration is probably one of the worst examples… ever. Alpine user interfaces are pretty rotten at the best of times, but when you add an iPod to the mix even the most technophiliac Alpine owner will end up weeping hot salty tears of rage. Inconsistent, incoherent and unintuitive doesn’t begin to cover it: the control system was clearly designed by someone who hates the entire human race and believes that the iPod’s simplicity is the worst thing about it.

Put it this way: I’m surprised that the stereo doesn’t punch you in the face every time you try to use it. It’s *that* unfriendly.

So if you want to, ahem, iPod your ride, you should seriously consider Alpine’s kit for its simple connection and superb sound quality. But if you want to keep hold of your sanity, you might be better off with a cassette adapter.