NPR logo iPad Mounted On A Steering Wheel: Taking A Fad Too Far?

iPad Mounted On A Steering Wheel: Taking A Fad Too Far?

When it comes to technology and cars, people like to push it. And by that, I mean they push it straight to crazy-town. How else to explain the rash of how-to videos on mounting an iPad in your car — and on your steering wheel, no less?



The Steering-Wheel-iPad Web site plays it with a straight face, but something smells fishy.

For instance, there this endorsement from Sam Dinsdale, of Urbana, Ill.: "I have found that using cruise control and playing BeJeweled on my iPad mounted on the steering wheel keeps me awake and alert without distracting too much from driving."

It immediately reminded me of the infamous (in some areas, at least) Steering Wheel Laptop Desk — an actual product whose Amazon page inspired a number of hoaxy "reviews" recommending it as both a guitar stand and a bar.

But this "iPad in the Car!" thing is widespread enough to be called… a meme.

Sure, you could see the iPad mount as (bad) drivers fightin' for their rights. In the war over cellphone/text bans, what better way to say you don't give a damn than to affix an advanced entertainment device between you and the speedometer?

But I think it's a bit more complicated. This steering wheel mount may be a hoax — but it's a capitalized one — note the Google Ads. And I had to think for a sec, "Hey, I wonder if this guy got a product-placement fee from USA Today?"

Hoax or not, people really do love the idea of putting a multimedia tool on their dashboard. And they evidently love to watch videos about it, too.

I first spotted this link on Slashdot, where someone had posted it with a short quote from the "manufacturer."

It turns out lots of people have made similar YouTube videos, where they show off iPads they've got mounted in cars, tethered to iPhones — and running Skype. With that established, it's not hard to imagine the next step: full-on video phone calls.

When drivers can have a conversation with a talking head that's wedged between the speedometer and an air conditioning vent, we'll be in a whole new world of distraction.