The latest USA Spec iPod Interface just works. Simple as that. I originally had a Dension ICE>Link for my iPod and '04 Accord, but after upgrading to an iPhone, I realized that my old adapter would not charge the iPhone due to Apple's change to the dock. After some research, I came across the USA Spec product and decided to give it a try.
First of all, the USA Spec is able to simulate an "XM Radio" interface. Where my old adapter used the cd changer interface and could only display track #, the USA Spec product is able to display artist, album and track info on an XM Compatible radio which is very cool. Like the my old adapter, the car's stereo is able to control next/previous track, but the new USA Spec Interface additionally lets you navigate playlist, artist and album tracks with the factory radio controls. Navigating playlists is very useful since you can see the playlist title on the radio's display as well, but once you load up your iPod, navigating by artist or album is too time confusing. Fortunately, the USA Spec also lets you use the iPod/iPhone's interface in a "DirectMode" rather than the car stereo's controls. This makes navigating to a specific track much easier. Even better, now that the iPhone supports online music sources such as Pandora or Slacker radio, you can actually stream Pandora music over the 3g network and play the music through the car stereo. Driving around the Los Angeles, this worked exceptionally well -- once the music started, I never noticed break in the music. This essentially gives you unlimited customized new music with no commercials.
(NOTE: for the geek in me, loading up the Star Wars "Light Saber" app and waving it around in the car resulted in some pretty cool sound effects from the car's stereo system.)
Another cool feature which probably speaks more to the iPhone than the car adapter is you can play music through the car stereo from the iPhone while viewing Google Maps or browsing the internet (well, your passenger could, perhaps). Alternatively, the device supports an additional external device by connecting through standard stereo RCA cables, but at this point, the stereo control and radio display would not work.
The USA Spec product is not perfect -- I noticed some noise interference when there was internet activity on the phone. It wasn't enough to make me stop listening to it, but it was slightly distracting when listening at high levels.
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I'm a technology early adopter. I thoroughly enjoy geeking out with the latest hardware, software and electronics. I probably have as much fun setting up, tweaking, and configuring systems as I do actually … more
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The USA Spec iPod Interface is a device which can plug into most recent factory car stereos which will connect an Apple iPod/iPhone device. Different models offer varying features and compatibility. Additionally, the device has stereo RCA connectors which allow for connecting another device in addition to the iPod.