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Car Audio Installer Creates Custom Entertainment System Using iPads, Apple TV


macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

Before heading on a road trip from Los Angeles, California to Phoenix, Arizona with his family to watch spring training baseball, MacRumors forum member and car audio installer Wesley, otherwise known as MrMacMini, decided that some entertainment would be needed for the five-hour drive. With a love for both Apple products and car audio installations, he decided to create his own entertainment system based on a pair of iPads, an Apple TV and Alpine headrest monitors in his 2011 Toyota Sienna.

The custom in-car entertainment system consists of a removable iPad mini retrofitted into the vehicle's dashboard, alongside two discontinued Alpine PKG-M780 headrest monitors in the rear that mirror an iPad 2 over AirPlay using a third-generation Apple TV. The setup also includes a 1TB Seagate Wireless Plus hard drive and Alpine CDE-HD149BT head unit for AM, FM, HD Radio, CDs and Bluetooth streaming audio. Wesley also purchased factory brackets to mount the head unit in the factory rear DVD player location.
"The iPad mini sends the sound via Bluetooth to the Alpine head unit. I opted for keeping a head unit so that I can still use the steering controls and have access the radio, in case 1 day I forget the iPad at home," explains Wesley. "The rear screens run independent. My daughters can watch anything they want via the Apple TV and the 1TB wireless Seagate. If we all want to want to watch the same thing, I have it set up so that I can AirPlay from the iPad mini to the Apple TV and have the sound feed back through the Alpine head unit."
Equipment Used

  1. iPad mini 3 running iOS 8.1 (jailbroken) -- in the dash, fully removable
    iPad 2 -- used for rear monitors
    Apple TV 3 -- used for rear monitors
    Alpine CDE-HD149BT -- AM/FM/HD Radio/CD/BT streaming audio head unit
    Alpine PKG-M780 (discontinued) - Dual 7" headrest monitors
    Seagate Wireless Plus - 1TB HDD
A complete gallery of before and after photos, including pictures of the individual parts and assembly process, can be found within the discussion forums. For those without the DIY savviness to create their own in-car entertainment system, Alpine has partnered with Apple as an official maker of aftermarket CarPlay systems, which bring Maps, Messages, Phone, Music and Siri to the dashboard, for between $700 to $1400 depending on the unit.

Given that certain car manufacturers are only now beginning to roll out CarPlay support in select new vehicles, and the expensive price tag of aftermarket systems by Alpine and Pioneer, this custom Apple-powered entertainment system could be a more affordable, not to mention cool, alternative for those that may have an iPad or two kicking around the house. If you have any Apple-related DIY projects, past or present, be sure to let us know by sending us a tip.

Article Link: Car Audio Installer Creates Custom Entertainment System Using iPads, Apple TV


macrumors 68000
Jul 23, 2012
When one of these ipad freezes and you need to do the home button w/ power thing....what? you have to pry the freaking ipads out the dashboard?


Dec 6, 2012
This is very cool. For those that cant wait for carplay to be implemented in a car or that don't want to buy a new car to get carplay this seems like a very nice system. Probably way overkill for most people, but for the enthusiast this seems great. But you still need the blue lights under the car to be serious. :)


macrumors 68040
Feb 15, 2010
Boston, MA
I've wanted to do this for awhile I have an iPad mount and a Bluetooth adapter on my factory deck but I'd much rather mount the iPad.


macrumors 604
Apr 11, 2005
This sounded really cool up until I hit the words "2011 Toyota Sienna". :eek:


Mar 10, 2013
I'm still waiting for someone to use an iPad/iPhone as a head unit. iOS is fantastic for audio processing and if you borrow some features from recording Apps (like Auria) you could put everyone else to shame.

Imagine a Lightning connected interface with 12 (or more) output channels all controlled by your iOS device. You can have individual channels for your subs, mids, highs and centre channel with fully adjustable equalization, crossover and time delay for each channel. No more need for external signal processors, crossovers or EQ's.

Couple that with software to assist tuning (and a microphone for taking measurements) and you have a single device that can everything and replace thousands of dollars of gear.


macrumors 6502
Mar 2, 2010
Cool. One thing to keep in mind is the Seagate Wireless no longer plays iTunes purchased content l, contrary to their website. They say it's iOS 8.


macrumors 604
Jan 7, 2014
In between a rock and a hard place
It's called Beamer I believe. (as a BMW)

This is funny. Unintentionally, but funny nonetheless.


Not flush ones matched perfectly to the car, they don't have ones like that.

Audio specialty vendors would be your best bet. iPad and tablet mounting is a tried and true process. Basic diy skills is all it takes. Granted, it probably won't look as good as his since it's what he does for a living.


macrumors 65816
Sep 11, 2014
Berkeley, CA
"iPad mini 3 running iOS 8.1 (jailbroken)": Heck yeah :D
But I'm still sticking with my USB-powered AirPort Express -> proxy cassette tape with aux cable -> tape player in 1996 Toyota Land Cruiser idea. There's something to be said for making it fancy AND cheap. I'll post once I get it working.


macrumors regular
Oct 2, 2012
There's a place by me that does this work now, NVS Audio, for anyone around NJ .
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