A Mechanically Precarious iPhone Dock Was My Favorite Head Unit at CES

Your iPhone is a better entertainment device than anything you’re going to get in a car stereo without spending big bucks. Snapping in an aux cable is a janky solution; the specialized iPod connectors in glove boxes aren’t much better.

That’s why Next-Base—yeah, never heard of them, either—was showing off the “Face Off Car Audio” dock at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, a double-DIN design which has a slick, if somewhat retrograde mechanical face that slides back to reveal an iPhone/iPod dock.

It gets better: after the front slides back and you’ve plugged in your iPhone, two little arms shoot out from the sides to hold it in place. It’s so overwrought that it’s kind of fantastic, and on the practical side of things, it does mean that nearly any size of Apple device will fit perfectly inside.

There’s a button that allows you to control Siri from your steering wheel if you have an iPhone 4S, as well as a microphone and Bluetooth earpiece for making calls. But really, it’s basically just a dock with an FM radio, a 4 x 45 Watt output and an as-yet-unknown price.

It’s probably going to be terrible. But watch the video and I think you’ll see why I find it so charming. If I had an older car in need of a new head unit—and it sold for around $100—I might just pull the trigger.

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