iPad 2: FaceTime in the Dash (WiFi Only)

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Updated! The Apple iPad 2, which went on sale Friday, is now even more in-car friendly due to its slimmer and lighter design.

Retailer Soundman Car Audio of Santa Clarita, CA. posted a video of an iPad 2 install in an F150 onlaunch day, and had received over 120,000 hits by early Monday.  It shows FaceTime video chat in your dash, and it offers Pandora and other capabilities. FaceTime works over WiFi rather than 3G, so you may lose the feature as you pull out of the driveway.

For skeptics who don’t believe tablets will be part of the car experience, think about this: when was the last time Mercedes-Benz and BMW came out with in-car dock options for a new device six months after it launched?

iPad 2 offers FaceTime in the dash (sorry, WiFi only)

Concept cars bearing an iPad dash are abundant only a year after the iPad hit the market. Volkswagen just showed the concept car Bulli with an iPad in the dash. Visteon revealed a concept iPad dash at CES, Hyundai is said to be developing a “tablet car” with a tablet computer.

Meanwhile, there are plenty of aftermarket iPad in-car options. Magnadyne has an overhead iPad docking kitScosche, iSimple, IQ Smart Solutions and others offer in car docks.

Although there are exceptions, such as Soundman Car Audio, most 12 volt retailers say they get only a few installation requests for an iPad in the car.

But as we’ve stated before, suppliers say a 7-inch iPad—should it ever become available– would transform the 12 volt market. It would compete with 7-inch in-dash navigation and AV head units, as Kenwood bravely noted last year.

iPad 2 even more in-car friendly
VW Bulli Concept Car with iPad

As for the new 7-inch BlackBerry Playbook rumored for April, suppliers are watching it, but it is not expected to create the impact of an iPad, which carries 80 to 90 percent market share.

“There’s no interest. I think Apple devices are so successful in the car because they’re tied to the iTunes store. I’ve been getting a ton of people interested in iPad builds recently,” said Soundman’s Doug Bernards.

The iPad 2 is 33 percent thinner than the original and it’s actually thinner than an iPhone 4. It’s also shed a couple of ounces, now at 1.3 pounds, down from 1.5.

The device adds dual cameras with FaceTime video chat to the iPad and it operates twice as fast as the original iPad. Video is improved so the tablet may easily be used with a TV and charge while you use it. There’s a new flap like cover for the device (as an option) , which may fold up to become a stand. Pricing remains similar to the original iPad starting at $499, while the original dropped to starting price of $399.

Update! The iPad 2 reportedly sold out in one day, with Apple moving about a half million units. This compares to sales of 300,000 over a full weekend for the original iPad, said Piper Jaffray, according to Fortune. Some analysts estimated weekend sales as high as one million units, said Reuters.

Source: CEoutlook

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