Jean Jennings VileBlog March 16 2007 Bose Media System

Bose Media System

We love the Bose people, and not just because they know math and we don't. It's because of what they can do with math in the name of making life more wonderful for the rest of us. This time, Bose has developed its first automotive infotainment system and it should set the industry back on its heels for some time to come.

I always make a pilgrimage to the Ferrari stand at any auto show I'm attending, hoping to catch a minute with one of our former Automobile Magazine Men of the Year, Luca de Montezemola. (I gave him his trophy at the ???? Geneva Show and was so rattled by his fawning press, that I called him Luca Monte de Zemola, much to my horror.) He is a god in Italy, rumored by more than just the gossipy automotive press to be an Agnelli, if you know what I mean. If he isn't, they ought to make him an honorary one for having swept in and slapped Ferrari into shape, and for revitalizing its moribund F1 team into a juggernaut. Ever since that honor, he acts like Gina Lollabrigida just walked onto the stand when he sees me. Do we think he's gunning for another Man of the Year trophy? They are a lot nicer looking now...

So I was skulking around and instead ran into the Bose guys who wanted to show me their latest invention, being unveiled exclusively in the 612 Scaglietti. If you have a Bose Wave radio or a set of its noise-reducing headphones, you'll understand why I snapped to attention and blew off the next four press conferences.

We love the Bose people, and not just because they know math and we don't. It's because of what they can do with math in the name of making life more wonderful for the rest of us. This time, Bose has developed its first automotive infotainment system and it should set the industry back on its heels for some time to come.

It is a graphically pleasing and easy to grasp navigation system based on GPS and dead-reckoning technology, with all of the cues you need and want prominently displayed on a 6.5" screen. Adding a new destination or dialing up stored one is a snap.; That's nice. But it's the music part of the system that will blow your mind.

It almost looks as simple as an old-fashioned radio, with a large knob on the left, a large knob on the right, and a row of six preset buttons in between. But this is no old-fashioned radio. For one thing, the system combines two FM signals to create one super signal for unbelievably crisp reception. It offers a list of "strong stations" from which to choose. The large right knob will group stations by genre, and the ridged knob around it will allow you to scroll through the list. The Bose is capable of receiving AM, FM, and either Sirius or XM satellite stations.

It's also the first automotive infotainment system to offer playback from almost every optical disc available today-CD, DVD-Video, DVD-Audio, SACD, and digital storage formats like MP3 and WMA. The Bose system knows which has been inserted and will adjust itself to optimum playback on its 5.1 channel surround sound. It helps that the Scaglietti's sound system is acoustically customized for its cabin. Hearing Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" in there will make you weep. There's a built-in hard drive you can load through the player, or with a memory stick, and it'll store 30 gigabytes of tunes.

But here's the real magic. As songs play, you can reach over and touch a "plus" button if you really like it, or a "minus" button if you don't. After a few days, it learns your taste in tunes and begins to play only those it thinks you'll like! The magic here come courtesy of the "grace note attributes" that are encoded in most music these days. You've seen this on your iTunes. There is, of course, an iPod plugin, and a Bluetooth phone function that will download your contact list. And voice control that you just know works better than any voice control you've ever experienced, just because it's Bose.

So, you'll need a 612 Scaglietti if you want this Bose system today. Otherwise, you'll need to wait until it drifts down the automotive food chain.

Math Rules.

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