Mainstream infotainment, or nav systems in cars are for the most part mediocre at best. The screens are often small, the UIs terrible, and the processors so slow you’re better off finding directions using a physical paper map. Only if car manufacturers would get on board and ship their cars with tablets, such as the iPad or in this case the iPad Mini.
Not more than hours after the WiFi only iPad Mini became available for purchase, Soundwaves of Tampa installed the 7.9-inch tablet into the dash of a 2012 Toyota Corolla. Odd car choice, but from the looks of it the center stack of this vehicle has the perfect dimensions. There doesn’t appear to be a built-in Lightning cable for charging and sending audio to the car’s amps, but it does feature a rather unique mount that angles open and hinges closed to provide a very seamless experience. The iPad Mini complete replaces the car’s stereo, so volume and a few other options are controlled via a relatively unsightly aftermarket part, which we assume is part of a Bluetooth setup, and connects the iPad Mini to the Corolla’s speakers. What we don’t understand is how they got online since the WiFi+Cellular Mini isn’t available to mid-November. Either they’re using the WiFi in the shop, or they’ve got a Hotspot setup.
According to Soundwaves the tablet can be installed in most cars for about $800, though you’ll need to tack on the price of other parts as well as the price of the iPad Mini itself, which starts at a rather painful $329.
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Think this could work in a Porsche Cayman? The iPad Mini may fit as a portrait (versus landscape done in this video). The Cayman’s radios are terrible, and the glass-mounted antennae makes listing to the radio impossible. The 2006-2009 Cayman’s don’t have an AUX input (unless you added the $2500+ crappy nav unit). All of these are signs to a ripe opportunity for a tablet-based replacement.