There are plenty of ways of hooking up an iPod to a car stereo: generic auxiliary input jacks will do the trick (if you're desperate); a connection via USB might transfer some data to the head unit display; while dedicated full-speed iPod harnesses have been the best option to date. Well, now there's a car stereo that's tailor-made for Apple fanboys. The Alpine IDA-X001--getting its debut here at CES 2007--is so iPod-centric that it doesn't even have a CD slot. Instead, it has a USB input to allow drivers to connect digitally to their fifth-generation iPods. The digital connection results in a transfer rate of 480Mbps (as a contrast, Alpine's previous "full-speed" digital-to-analog iPod adapter managed a paltry 19.2 kbps).
As well as displaying all of the familiar iPod menus in their original fonts (Apple was drafted to consult on the unit's design), the IDA-X001's color LCD screen reproduces full album art in a choice of two sizes. The stereo also features some advanced file-searching capabilities, including searching for song by letter (á la the latest iPods) and a variable-speed scrolling dial. Those technolaggards wishing to connect a previous-generation iPod to the stereo will have to buy the aforementioned full-speed adapter for around $30 and will have to forgo the luxury of digital audio reproduction. The Alpine IDA-X001 goes on sale in April with a healthy price tag of $450.