Now that iOS 4.2 and AirPlay are officially available for our Apple portable devices, we're starting to see third-party devices that can take advantage of the new capability. Among the first of those is the AP1000 from Japan's PhotoFast. The AP1000 is a Wi-Fi host that gets wired into a car audio system to receive AirPlay streams.
The little box supports 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi signals, and once it's connected to 12 volt power and an input on the audio system, it should appear in the AirPlay connection screen on the iOS device. It's probably just as well that there doesn't appear to be any in-vehicle video streaming support with the AP1000, although it could be handy if you have a rear-seat entertainment system for the kids.
For many new vehicles that already have built-in support for Bluetooth audio streaming, the AP1000 doesn't really seem to provide any additional functionality, although the audio fidelity may be somewhat improved. PhotoFast is currently seeking a distributor outside of Japan, so we have no idea when the AP1000 will be available in the U.S. or how much it will cost. Check out the video of a sample installation in the second part of the story.