Hands-on: Alpine's splash-proof Apple CarPlay unit targets Jeep Wrangler owners

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Perhaps the most unique take on CarPlay we saw at this year's Consumer Electronics Show came from Alpine, which has added Apple's automotive interface to its ruggedized infotainment systems for Jeep Wrangler owners.

The new Alpine Restyle X209-WRA and i209-WRA feature built-in integration with Apple CarPlay, including the addition of physical buttons to control elements of the user interface. For example, when using CarPlay, pressing the navigation button on either unit will launch Apple Maps. There's also a hard key for Siri voice control.

Physical buttons are a key part of the Alpine units because the 2017 Restyle products are also splash-proof, and moisture on the 9-inch touchscreen would prevent users from accurately using it. The splash-proof and dust-proof design is rated IP54, intended for Jeep Wrangler drivers who ride trails or climb rocks with the top removed.

In a demonstration on the CES floor, an Alpine Restyle unit was subjected to more than a mere splash, with water spraying all over the touchscreen and buttons to showcase its capabilities.

Both the X209 and i209 also feature high-visibility displays that Alpine says can be seen clearly in direct sunlight.

The X209 model will boast system expansion capabilities while the i209 is a mech-less system. Both replace the OEM radio in a Jeep Wrangler, with what Alpine claims is a "better-than-factory look" featuring Wrangler-specific harnesses for plug-and-play installation.

Alpine's X209-WRA 9-inch Restyle Dash System for Jeep Wrangler will be available in April for a suggested price of $4,000. The i209-WRA mech-less model, also featuring a 9-inch display, will debut in April for $2,200.