Head Uses Docked iPhone/iPod As Sole Audio Source

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Startup Jackson Electronics has begun offering an aftermarket autosound head unit whose only source is an iPhone or iPod that snaps into the front panel.

The iRoc head unit is available direct to consumers and to retailers at a retail price of $399 for both the single-DIN and double-DIN versions. It’s certified and approved for all iPhones, the iPod classic, the iPod Touch and iPod Nano, said president/CEO Michael P. Gagliardi.

It’s the company’s first in a planned line of smartphones accessories.

The Apple devices physically dock with the head unit, turning the Apple device’s display and user interface into the head unit’s main user interface. The head unit itself sports a knob for on/off, volume and such tone-control functions as bass, midrange, treble, and subwoofer level.

Audio and video applications and content residing on a docked Apple device will be available through the car’s speakers and external video screens, the company said. Apps include GPS navigation and Internet radio apps through a docked iPhone.

A free iRocEQ app available through the Apple app store lets users adjust system equalization and perform other functions.

The iPhone or iPod docks with the head unit’s Apple-compatible 30-pin connector to deliver audio and video to the system. The system also charges the Apple device. A headphone jack slides into the other end of the Apple device to provide hands-free calling in conjunction with the head’s built-in microphone.

The iRoc features a 4x23-watt (RMS) amp, composite-video output, steeringwheel- control input, and six 2-volt preamp lineouts, including dual subwoofer outputs. The steering-wheel-input is compatible with PAC’s SWI-PS or SWI-RC OEM–steeringwheel- control adapters. The iRocEQ app provides 12 bands of equalization using onscreen sliders. Many of the fixed center-point frequencies feature adjustable Q.

The balance and fade screen on the iRocEQ features a 3D image of a car interior, enabling users to touch the driver-position location on the screen to balance and fade the music to the front left. Users can also slide a finger across the screen to move music from left to right or back to front.

The app also controls such subwoofer parameters as level, cut-off frequency and phase.

“The iRoc system is truly an extension of the consumer’s smartphone,” said Gagliardi.


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