Apple CarPlay Extends iPhone’s Reach To Dashboards

Apple begins its march into automobiles with Apple CarPlay. The system turns your dashboard into an iOS-powered system through the iPhone’s lightning port. Any iPhone users before iPhone 5 are out of luck. Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo will begin having the option next week. Honda, Hyundai and Jaguar will offer it later this year. Many car manufacturers will have it eventually in the future.

Zubie by @GoZubie: Making Sense Of It All

‘CHECK ENGINE’ said the big yellow light on my car’s dashboard. That was in 1998. Finally, last year, I got around to it, and when I lifted the hood, that same yellow light then read ‘MADE YOU LOOK.’ Did that really happen? Of course not, but those mysterious messages often seem to have no rhyme or reason. Zubie ($100) is a smart device that plugs into any port in your car and sends your phone a detailed breakdown of what’s going on with your vehicle–and what those damn messages mean. It also offers location tracking and alerts, as well as feedback about your driving skills. Watch it, Zubie.

Garmin HUD Windshield Navigation System: Heads Up, Buddy

Garmin’s gettin’ all 21st century on us here with HUD ($130), a portable heads-up display unit that takes your smartphone’s navigation instructions and splashes them on your vehicle’s windshield. Just stick the transparent film on the window, pair it via Bluetooth with Garmin’s StreetPilot or Navigon apps, and then keep your head up, son. You’ll see the distance to the next turn, current speed and even other info goodies like traffic delays and where the red light cameras are. As far as things on windshields, we’ve certainly come a long way from those Baby on Board signs.

The Stayhold: The Car Trunk Hack You Should’ve Thought Of

Here’s another one of those ideas that’s awesome, but pisses you off because clearly you should’ve thought of it first. The Stayhold ($13) is simply a solid plastic wall with velcro hook strips. As we all know, when your trunk is free of dead bodies, it can be tough to keep a bag of groceries in place. But with the Stayhold you can back that thang up (still talking about the Stayhold here–that would’ve been a really weird segue if we were now discussing your ass) and keep your stuff in place. Plus it comes from Dublin, so I imagine it’s really good at holding a pint in place.

Automatic Driving Assistant App: Learn Your Car Somethin` Good

Ever encourage your car to read the classics? They never listen, do they? `I`m telling you, Ford Fiesta, you would LOVE `Of Mice and Men!` Point is, automobiles aren`t smart–even when they apply themselves. So think of Automatic ($70), a very thorough driving assistant app/piece of hardware, as the equivalent of Michelle Pfeiffer in Dangerous Minds; the odds are against it, but somehow this teacher is gonna prevail. Your vehicle`s built-in computer data morphs with Google Maps and current gas price info to churn out a bevy of useful stats, covering all things fuel usage and even handling engine alerts. The device can also sense a crash and then alert the nearest emergency responder to your location. I suppose that`s more useful than a car that knows its multiplication tables.

Automatica: Don’t Stop USBelieving

We dig “Carol of the Bells” as much as the next eggnog-buzzed brute, but if this past month of nonstop Christmas music on the radio doesn’t drive home the need for personalized in-car audio content, what does? Silence that commercial crap for good with Automatica, a smart USB device and online service that lets you bring your music and podcasts with you on the road. Store 24 hours of stuff on the tiny device, plug it into your car’s USB port, then sync it with cloud storage services via Wi-Fi. Will you be able to live without obnoxious car dealer commercials every 17 minutes? Let’s find out.

TYLT Band Car Charger

The hardest thing about texting while driving is staying within the lines—a problem I’m still trying to overcome in my coloring books. Often, it’s a side effect of short car chargers that allow no freedom of movement. The TYLT Band Car Charger ($40) offers a solution to this problem by supplying 24 inches of cable; in addition, the band is also furnished with regular and micro USB’s on opposed ends. Now about those coloring books…