While new cars come with fancy touchscreen systems, GPS navigation, and stereos that support various sources of input as well as streaming music, the holy grail for those who modify their cars is to do anything and everything by integrating a computer–or carputer. When Apple had debuted the original iPad some three years ago, the task to integrate a touchscreen and Mac Mini into a car’s dash was displaced by integrating the more compact iPad into center consoles. Since the release of the iPad 1, the guys over at SoundMan Car Audio in Southern California have been hard at work in retrofitting various automobiles by creating in-dash mounts for tablets like the iPad that look like they’re part of the car, and these guys have already created a custom solution for a 2010 Ford F150 truck that accommodates Apple’s latest ‘revolutionary’ tablet of choice with 4G LTE connectivity.
This modification job is different than the mod job that SoundMan Car Audio had done for the iPad 1 and iPad 2. With the iPad 3, the guys there say they are testing out a new proof of concept where the mount permanently integrates the iPad 3 into the custom-created center dash console, which means no removing of the iPad. It’s interesting to hear the guy in the video say that he now views the iPad as ‘a $700 radio’ thanks to iClound and integrated mobile broadband, which means you don’t need to remove the tablet to synchronize with the computer. I guess this is the ideal dream and vision that Apple, late CEO Steve Jobs, and Tim Cook had envisioned for iCloud in the ‘post-PC’ world.
The iPad can do much more than that with GPS, voice-guided turn by turn directions via third-party apps, and more. The guys over at SoundMan Car Audio had integrated the iPad with the Ford SYNC features and also paired up the iPhone 4S via Bluetooth to the Ford SYNC system.
You can check out the embedded video above to see the custom hack job that’s been elegantly integrated with the Ford truck.
If you don’t want to go fully custom–and want an easy option to remove your iPad from the mount, a good third-party option is ProClip USA’s (under license from Brodit) vent mount system, which are made in Sweden and are sturdy. I’ve tested the original iPad 1 and the accompanying ProClip USA system in an older BMW 5 Series and it works really well. Of course, you won’t get the elegance of SoundMan Car Audio’s custom work, but it will probably a bit more economical as well.