The automobile industry isn't just considering iPod/vehicle integration - the new Mac mini's attracting interest, too.

“For around the price of mounting an iPod in your car, you get a whole Macintosh computer,” said Melvin Benzaquen, president of Classic Restorations in Sloatsburg.

He observes that the Mac mini could easily fit into a car stereo compartment, creating a powerful “brain” for any car, he said. He’s convinced the new Mac mini could be "one of the hottest innovations the car enthusiast market has seen in years".

The classic-car restorer has already begun offering to build the Mac into his auto projects.

“We had been completing the design and prototypes of our modified iBook and PowerBook car installs when rumours of the Mac mini began to circulate earlier this month,” he said.

“We immediately began working on a new design and plan for car conversions on the new Mac mini platform. We are pleased to be the first to offer the exciting Mac mini conversion at a price far more accessible than any mobile PC alternative.”

The move opens up possibilities: the Mac mini supports voice recognition and voice response, allowing for hands-free operation while driving. It also supports Bluetooth, allowing for the use of a wide array of wireless peripherals such as keyboards and mobile phones. Users can drive up and log into to any hotspot, as offered at many Starbucks, hotels and other public locations to surf the Web, view email, view webcams, and other useful options.

The Mac mini platform supports virtually all home media formats (MP3, DVD, CD, WMA, etc.) and the 40GB storage allows for onboard selection of thousands of songs.

With thanks to Macworld UK reader Richard for the tip.