What Should You Look for in iPhone to Car Integration?

So you’ve just purchased your shiny new iPhone, you’ve probably already downloaded more apps than your ever going to use. As well as visiting multiple sites looking for the latest accessories to work with your new social status symbol. Not that anything is wrong with doing this. its exciting getting a new toy to play with, especially if you haven’t used an iPhone before.

However, finding a device which is actually useful and combines well with the iPhone (which isn’t a gimmick) is fairly rare. But one of the most useful inventions for the iPhone, is the iPhone car kit. There are numerous kits which offer iPhone integration into your vehicle. Each has different strengths and weaknesses, however the general principle is the same. you receive iPod and or Phone through your vehicle stereo. Sounds good right!! well it is.

So what would you expect an iPhone car kit?

Let me tell you what is available. Firstly there are devices such the Gateway 100, these offer integration into the vehicle for iPod playback (the iPhone is basically an iPod with a phone built in). you control your music through the stereo or steering wheel and get text info on compatible cars. the kits are fully integrated however don’t offer a phone function at all. these kits are excellent if your only interested in music playback, and want more integration than a FM Transmitter can provide.

Secondly there are kits like the Parrot MKI range, Traditionally speaking Parrot Bluetooth has always been seen as the market leader. Parrot specialise in Bluetooth Phone functions, which works well with the iPhone. However now Parrot have included iPod into the New MKI products. so you now receive phone integration and well as all your songs. the other major advantage of the parrot kit is that it is universal and fits into the vehicle via ISO connections. Adapters can be purchased if your vehicle doesn’t use ISO.

There are obviously some negatives to the parrot MKI range, firstly the parrot kits don’t actually integrate through the stereo, they use the car speakers to Auto-Mute when a call is made or received. so you cant control the iPod, Phonebook etc through the car’s controls. you can control them through the parrot controls which are included with the kit. secondly the Music played through the MKI range is amplified through the parrot kit, and usually only play through the front speakers.

Technological advances in this area have seen a new kit come onto the market. its not available for all vehicles as of yet, and the integration is very specific. However the Dension Gateway 5 is the next generation of iPhone integration. the kit installs into your stereo and works alongside it to provide Music & Phone functionality inside your car as an all in one solution. you receive Text on the cluster screen and full digital sound quality through all speakers. the other major advantage of this solution over others on the market is that it is controllable through stereo and steering wheel and no separate screen is required.

The only dis-advantage of the Dension Gateway 5 is that is is car and stereo specific, in fact it quite often it goes deeper than that. often the kit requires the presence of steering wheel controls & Cluster screens inside the vehicle. some vehicle have them, some don’t.

iPhone car integration is becoming more and more advanced, each year brings out a new method of integration and improved functionality through the car. This time next year I would expect much further integration than we already have now.

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