Home > Car Tech, Electronics, Industry News > Will the iPad Kill In-Car Entertainment Systems?

Will the iPad Kill In-Car Entertainment Systems?

Apple takes a swing at car manufacturers now, whether they intended to or not.  With the base cost for an iPad costing so much less than most of the auto makers’ DVD options, will we see fewer sales of vehicles with DVD systems included, or will the automakers partner up with Apple and others to offer the iPad (or a competing product) as the in-car entertainment system of choice?   And could this expand to airlines, trains, subways and more?

Apple iPad front and back

Apple iPad front and back - image from ZDNet.com

In an article in the Chicago Tribune, David Thomas of Cars.com says, the iPad “could prove to be a serious problem for automakers that charge a ransom for rear entertainment systems.”  It costs much less than most of the DVD in-car entertainment center options that most car manufacturers are currently offering. Ford‘s Flex crossover has an option for their Dual INViSiON (TM) DVD Headrests that sells for $1,995, while the Land Rover‘s RES (Rear Seat Entertainment) option is $2,500 and the Acura’s DVD Rear Entertainment System with a 9-inch screen and three wireless headsets goes for about $1,900.

2008 Land Rover Range Rover Sport Rear Entertainment System

2008 Land Rover Range Rover Sport Rear Entertainment System

Compare this to $500-$600 or so for an Apple iPad, and you can get two of those for far less than the manufacturer-installed (or even dealer-installed) entertainment center package.

They both have their advantages: the in-car entertainment systems are weather-tested to work from -5 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit and being less prone to breakage.  Plus you don’t have to install software to convert DVDs to iTunes then be able to watch them, and iPads in plain view in a car would be a tempting target for thieves.  The iPad is cheaper, portable, and has more functionality including email, office applications, and more.

What do you think?  Which would you choose and why?  Feel free to express your opinion in the comments section below.

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