Released this week, Thanko's Car Laptop Holder for iPad is a twist on the company's Car Laptop Holder from a few years back. We have to admit that the method of attachment is not the most elegant, but if you're a driver who needs an iPad in the cab then this might be for you. Just make sure you don't have the WiFi iPad, otherwise you'll probably be hanging out in the garage or parking next to Starbucks all the time.
Of course, drivers should always keep distractions to a minimum and one of the benefits of Thanko's solution is that it mounts on the passenger side (note that the pictures are from Japan, which has right-hand driving). The installation process looks a little tedious, as the kit is essentially an arm system that affixes to the rails underneath your passenger seat – though it's certainly a more favorable solution than some clumsy suction cup or windshield mounts on the market. The arm measures about half a meter (about two feet) and the angle can be adjusted in three places to create the best viewing position.
While Thanko is marketing this as an iPad mounting kit, it can also be used to hold things like digital cameras or camcorders, or you can even use it as a table. It will set you back 7980 yen in Japan (that coverts to just under US$100), so this is probably not a purchase you'll be making on a whim unless you truly have a need for it.
Personally I like Scosche's more elegant iPad mount far better, though I'm not sure it would be in my best interests to have an iPad mounted in the center of the dash. While it would be wonderful to have access to Google Maps on such a big display, I'm not sure that I'd want a screen display so high up in my field of vision.
Perhaps a wiser option would be to move your iPad to the backseat, particularly if you have kids back there prone to getting bored on long car trips. Luckily Thanko also has an iPod mount for the backseat. This set-up has a relatively sturdy attachment that connects to the headrest's metal supports. And while sturdy is generally a good thing, it might be wise to make sure your kids are buckled in nice and tight in case any sudden braking throws them forward and into your iPad.
This backseat kit will cost 3980 yen or about US$47 at the current exchange rate (15 year low at the moment, for dollar vs yen). Griffin makes a seat-back video case that's well worth a look too, at US$39.
If you do spring for a backseat iPad mounting solution, you'll probably want the new (and free) VLC player which was just released today.