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How the Apple experience made it to the dash

We've helped customers from the iPod® to the iPhone®

Apple changed the way we listened to music forever with the introduction of the iPod in 2001, and by 2004, we and our vendor partners were helping customers access entire music collections in cool, new ways. Let’s dial the click wheel back!

All your music in the car

By the mid ’00s, I kept my overstuffed Case Logic books in the car, packed with hundreds of CDs, so I had all my music on the go. When I bought my first iPod, all those CDs went in the closet (where they live today). Having all that music in a pocket-sized device was enough of a game-changer, but being able to jump from album to album and artist to artist without hunting, ejecting, and loading was revolutionary. And we all wanted that experience as soon as we could get it.

2004: Alpine KCA-420i iPod interface and CDA-9825 CD receiver

Alpine KCA-420i iPod interface and CDA-9825 CD receiver

Alpine had the vision

For some, the ol’ “aux-in” solution (cassette adapter, anyone?) worked fine, but didn’t harness the iPod’s full potential. Then came Alpine’s KCA-420i adapter, which acted as a middleman between the iPod and select Alpine stereos, giving you unique controls and info via your stereo. Alpine included a 6-1/2" Ai-NET cable for connection with compatible stereos, like Alpine's CDA-9825 CD receiver, and this also allowed you to charge your iPod while driving. Of course, you did need to find a convenient spot to mount the chunky, little adapter.

2008 image: Alpine iDA-X100 digital media receiver made specifically for iPod integration

Alpine iDA-X100 digital media receiver made specifically for iPod integration

In years to follow, Alpine and other brands upped iPod integration, letting you see metadata and even album art in your dash. The Alpine iDA-X100 digital media receiver, shown above, was among the first of its kind to do away with built-in CD playback and embrace an Apple-style design with a central click-wheel and 2.2" color display.

2010 image: Sony DSX-S100 digital media receiver

In 2010 Sony introduced their DSX-S100 digital media receiver

iPod control had clearly become a hit...but there was still the issue of where to stash the thing. Why let your iPod slide around in a coin tray or take up space in your center console when you could tuck it in the car stereo itself? At least, that was Sony's thinking when they designed their DSX-S100 digital media receiver, which let you move its stereo’s face down and hide your iPod inside on a nifty "Tune Tray."

iPod and iPhone

Interfaces have changed, but Apple's promise is the same — all your music is a click away

The Apple CarPlay® era

Once Apple introduced the iPhone in 2007, the new horizon became accessing essential apps from your stereo. CarPlay, developed by Apple in 2014, made that dream a reality — and now it’s the industry standard. If you’re an iPhone user, it’s a must.

Excellent stereo options for iPhone integration

These days, most car stereo manufacturers offer Apple CarPlay in at least some of their stereos. Here are three of our favorite options for adding CarPlay to your dash.


All you need in a car stereo

Apple CarPlay is my copilot. If I need directions, I pull up Google Maps™. Calling and texting couldn’t be easier with Siri’s help, and as a heavy-duty user of Spotify®, I have all I need for an unparalleled music experience. (Siri helps me there too when I want to change artists on a whim.) This JVC KW-M788BH digital multimedia receiver gives you all that on a 6.8" capacitive touchscreen, plus a host of audio sources and EQ controls.

Kenwood DXM908S

The thrill of going wireless

When wireless CarPlay showed up as a feature in 2017, it felt like a novelty to me, but after installing it in the family SUV, I’m here to tell you that I don’t want to imagine life without it. On a busy day of errands, hopping in and out of the car without messing with my iPhone is a sweet luxury. You’ll get that with the Kenwood Excelon DMX908S digital multimedia receiver, along with an awesome feature set, a 6.95" capacitive touchscreen, and a 2-year warranty.

Sony XAV-9500ES

Supersized, floating screen access

If you’re envious of the tablet-sized interface you’ve seen in new vehicles, the 10.1" touchscreen display of the Sony Mobile ES XAV-9500ES digital multimedia receiver with wireless Apple CarPlay should keep you from wandering into a dealership for a while. Sony also builds in premium components to deliver exceptional sound quality in the mobile environment. So, if you’re a fan of high resolution audio, this is your stereo!

Shop all our Apple CarPlay stereos

You can find CarPlay-equipped car stereos from nearly every big name in car audio. Enter your vehicle info to get started shopping, and remember that if you need a little help along the way, just reach out to one of our Advisors!

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