An example of this approach is the Eclipse AVN2210P: a dashboard media hub, with a removable TomTom navigation unit. This system got mixed reviews, some good and some bad. This is a large unit, so it will not fit some cars and it is designed to provide a CD and MP3 player, even without the TomTom installed and so is large and expensive. But a similar device, smaller and cheaper, could be made for an iPhone.
An iPhone is 115×61×11.6 mm and the iPod touch is 110×61.8×8 mm. This is a bit taller than the standard slot in a car dashboard for a radio: 180 x 50 mm (the so called "DIN car radio size" DIN 75490 ISO 7736). The iPhone could be accommodated in a double DIN (180 x 100 mm panel) slot (as used by the Eclipse) or simply by having the iPod/iPhone protrude a few mm outside the slot (the average car radio has a surround a few mm bigger). The iPhone is 65 mm shorter than the DIN slot, leaving enough space for a volume control , digital display and some radio controls.
When the iPhone was not in place, the car would still have a working radio. With the iPhone plugged in there would be phone, MP3 and other functions provided via the touch screen. The car unit could be made at very low cost with simple analog electronics, with all the sophisticated functions provided by the iPhone.
As the dashboard unit would only contain a minimum of electronics, it could be made about 10 mm deep and so could also be mounted on a flat surface or on a dashboard top mount, when a dashboard slot is not available. The unit could be made as a removable head, like some car radios. The same unit could then also be used as a desktop dock for the iPhone in the home or office, with some low cost speakers and a power supply attached.
The iPhone does not have a GPS receiver built in. However, the connector on the iPhone includes a USB interface and so the docking unit could pass these signals through to a USB connector for use with an inexpensive external USB GPS receiver. Alternatively a Bluetooth GPS receiver could be used (the iPod touch lacks Bluetooth, but has USB).
- Eclipse AVN2210p CD receiver with detachable TomTom portable navigator
- Books about the iPhone
- iPhone and iPod Touch Accessories
- iPhone Car Mounts
- iPod Touch Car Mounts