Frequently Asked Questions
I'll be adding to this as the questions come in. If you have a question that's NOT answered here, please PM me and I'll get back to you as soon as possible.
Q: Is this even legal?
A: As with most automotive modifications, please check with your local law enforcement regarding the legality/illegality of doing this. In every state, full motion video in view of the driver is illegal and should never be done unless the car is in park with the emergency brake applied. In some states that have adopted anti-texting laws, the laws extend to inputs to computers. However, just because the iPad can
do these things typically does not make putting it in your car illegal. It's the same reason you don't get a ticket for going 150 mph just because your car can go 150 mph -- you have to actually do it.
Q: Wouldn't using the iPad while driving be distracting, even dangerous?
A: Depending on what you're doing, yes! Always practice safe driving. I did a few quick videos on the topic with the assistance of mp3car.com. You can use
to do a lot of actions as well as
to keep your eyes on the road.
Q: The glare must be crazy! Does it affect driving?
A: I've never had a glare issue affecting my ability to drive. If your screen is really dirty it will light up when light hits it and make it difficult to see the screen, but this only happens in very specific circumstances, typically at sunset/sunrise when the sun is coming directly "through" your passenger seat hitting the iPad.
The iPad also auto-adjusts brightness, so when it is bright out, the display gets cranked up, making seeing the screen easy.
Q: Really, how tough is install?
The video was made with one of the rapid prototypes, but the methodology is still the same!
Q: How do I get music out of the iPad?
A: Your iPad sits in the Apple iPad dock, which can provide audio output either via the 30-pin connector or the stereo out jack. Use a few tricks with the 30-pin and you can get digital audio out!
Q: I like my radio stations... will I lose them?
A: In most cases, no! In fact, you'll gain hundreds and hundreds more. Most major radio stations broadcast their music streams online now. Many go through larger apps like ShoutCast, iHeart Radio, or AOL Radio as well. Now you can get your radio station where ever you are!
Q: Does it do GPS?
A: If you have the iPad 3G, then yes, it does! I fully endorse the Navigon app for all of your navigation needs, but check out some of the other apps out there and find what works for you!
Q: I want engine diagnostics but the iPad doesn't have an input for it. Can I still get them?
A: Yes, using PLX Device's Kiwi Wifi
and either the DashCommand or Rev app.
Q: I've read up on carputers. They can do everything while the iPad is limited by its apps. Why would I ever do this over that?
A: My favorite question. Having run both setups, I can tell you that a traditional carputer is a great thing. I can also tell you that it's a mess. You've got the computer, the power controller, the GPS antenna, the 3G antenna, the monitor, and oh-so-many cables. Ignition-to-music times vary from 20 seconds to 90 seconds depending on your setup (I never got below 40 seconds). And, most importantly, a traditional carputer is JUST a carputer. You can't take it out, you can't use it in your home, on a plane, on vacation, at work... it is solely a carputer.
Using an iPad as a carputer is a very neat and easy solution to get much of the traditional carputing functionality without the hassle of traditional carputers. And when you're out of the car, the iPad can come with you!
Q: This thing is going to get stolen in 10 seconds, right?
A: Well, that's up to you. The iPad fits neatly in your glove box and un-docks faster than any aftermarket head unit I've ever seen. Slip it out of the bezel and into your glove box and feel pretty safe about it.
Q: What about when I want to sell my car. Can I put it back together EXACTLY as it was before I did this?
A: Yes, you can. Save all of your parts and just pop out the STiPad bezel and pop back in the stock pieces.
Q: My HVAC looks different (probably because I have the TR). Will this bezel work with my Subie?
A: Sadly, no. The HVAC cutouts match up to the automatic HVAC which was on the vast majority of the Subarus produced. With some fiberglass and resin I'm sure you can make it work, but I can't promise that.
Q: Is the paint a good match?
A: Very. OEM paint is a metallic-chip paint, meaning that there are very fine flakes mixed in that appear to reflect differently depending on how the light hits it. There's no Krylon spray that can match it... I had to have a special paint made to get it very, very close.