Most aftermarket receivers with iPod capabilities include a USB or dock connector dongle, but they leave it to you to figure out where to stow your MP3 player while driving. Fusion Electronics thinks it has solved the problem with the announcement of an internal docking CA-IP500 iPod Receiver. Essentially, what Fusion has done is put an iPod-size slot behind the faceplate that will allow you to slide the digital audio player inside of the receiver.
Looking at the specifications on the company Web site and the images supplied, it looks like making room for the iPod slot meant sacrificing the CD player, which will be a turn off to some. For users with most of their music library ripped to MP3 format, the omission of optical media probably won't be a big deal. Fusion also makes no mention of whether the faceplate is motorized or not.
Once the iPod is safely stowed behind the OLED, songs will be chosen with a dual-function rotary knob/joystick meant to replicate the function of an iPod click-wheel. Fusion claims the navigation will be "effortless," but if there's one thing we've learned about receivers and iPods, it's that speed is king. Many great interfaces have been rendered almost useless by intolerable load times for song browsing.
FUSION's CA-IP500 is compatible with the iPod Classic (fifth-generation and sixth-generation), the iPod Touch, and the iPod Nano (second-generation and third-generation). Fusion didn't state how the unit would accommodate these iPods of varying size.