Ok we get it, there are a lot of anti-Apple activists out there that refuse to buy into the iTechnology mantra.  That is fine and dandy, but we have to tell you that your missing out on a lot of great technology, like SCT’s new iTSX.  Maybe you are stuck on an infinite phone plan with your cell phone provider, but for God’s sakes, at least get yourself an iPod Touch!

We will get off the Apple kick for now, but the technology built into SCT iTSX isn’t something to go overlooked.  No more worrying about cables, dongles or other bulky items; the iTSX fits in the palm of your hand and fits neatly onto the vehicle’s OBD-II where it transmits the vehicle’s information directly to an (iDevice) Apple device.  “Something not a lot of people don’t know about iTSX is 95% of SCT’s staff had no idea we were making it until eight months into the development – myself included,” said Tim Roi of SCT. ” We knew this product was going to change the tuning industry and we didn’t want to risk an accidental leak or word getting out about what we were going to do.” Let’s take a look at some of the iTSX’s capabilities

TSX, iTSX – What’s the difference?

SCT’s original TSX is similar to the functionality of the iTSX. It still uses Bluetooth technology to transmit data wirelessly and contains all of the main features, though the TSX comes with a touch screen display while the iTSX uses an iDevice, reducing the cost over the traditional TSX.

SCT iTSX for Ford and GM Late-Model Vehicles

• Vehicle Tuning and Programming
• On-Screen Virtual Gauges with Adjustable Warning / Alert lights
• Monitor Vehicle Engine Data / Parameters via Virtual Gauges
• Huge Virtual Gauges on iPad ( 9.5” wide X 7.4” tall )
• 0-60 MPH Test: Virtual Speedometer & Graph with Estimated Horsepower
• ET / MPH Test: 1/8th mile & 1/4 mile ET / MPH with Estimated Horsepower
• Top Speed Performance Test
• Braking Performance Test with 60-0MPH ET
• Reads & Clears Vehicle Diagnostic Trouble Codes

Downloading, Installing, and Connecting the Application

Installing the iTSX app is no different than installing any other application; log into the iTunes store with your free account and type in “iTSX” into the search bar. The download is free and does not require any additional sign up to use.  The next step will be to plug the iTSX into the vehicle’s OBD-II port, which is directly below the steering wheel and under the dash of our 2011 Mustang test vehicle.  An LED on the front of the iTSX will blink fast, notifying you that a connection to the Apple device has not been established yet.

Next go to the Settings icon on the iDevice and click the Bluetooth tab, which will then locate and ask you to connect to the iTSX.  Once the connection has been established, the LED on the iTSX will turn blue…blue LED for an activated Bluetooth, get it?  With the key in the start position or with the vehicle on, now you can finally load the iTSX application.

From the left, the application is first downloaded from the iTunes store. After that, pair the phone to the iTSX device once it is plugged into the OBD-II port. If the iTSX is not paired to the iDevice, then you will get the 'Don't have an iTSX' screen that allows you to read the manual, watch the demo, find a place to buy it or look to see if your vehicle is supported.

Vehicle Tuning

The functionality of the iTSX’s tuning process is largely unchanged over their SF3 and TSX tuners, though easy-of-use is improved with it’s color on screen prompts. The application will detect the vehicle it’s tuning and display the default settings on the tune, allowing the user to easily customize the tune with a myriad of adjustments.  The soon-to-release custom tuning support is where the iTSX really shines. With the ability to store up to 10 custom tunes (three times the normal amount) the iTSX will load tunes through email or USB connection.  This eliminates the need to open up an additional Windows-based SCT updater to load the tunes.  Additionally, tuners can protect users with custom tunes by disabling the preloaded tune function so an incorrect tune can never be loaded.

Once in the vehicle tuning section, the iTSX will automatically detect your vehicle. From there it shows the current tune settings, which in most applications can be highly modified. SCT even includes tunes for popular air intakes, gear ratio, octane, and many more options. Once the settings are applied, the tuner will walk you though a few prompts as it flashes the computer, alerting you when it's done.

Now that our graphics guys know how to create more gauge sets, watch for some very cool gauge themes & layouts shortly.

On Screen Virtual Gauges

Be the first kid on your block with a 21st century digital monster tach and shift light with a window-mounted iPad! While the gauge layouts are limited with the new release, SCT pledges to have a large array available soon, “Last week I received the details on how to create more gauge layouts from our software engineers,” said Roi “Now that our graphics guys know how to create more gauge sets, watch for some very cool gauge themes & layouts shortly.”

Current gauge options come in the form of three numerical readouts, or one sweeping gauge with one numerical read out above it.  Unlike a typical analog gauge that gives a fixed gauge sweep, the iTSX gauges can be programed for any specific range. For example, the engine speed could be displayed on the sweep-style gauge that only registers 4,000 to 7,000 rpm so you could have a much finer detail of when you are approaching the vehicle’s red line. Speaking of red line, all the gauge perimeters come with both high and low settings that will trigger the gauge to show red once either one of these ranges have been triggered, which could even be used as a shift light.

First select the correct vehicle PIDs, which are the perimeters that will be detected on a given vehicle. Next slide the 'gauge selection' screen left or right to select from the different gauge layouts. Each perimeter in the gauge layout can be customized from the PID list, including its range and warning points.

When it comes to recording the vehicle data, Roi responded, “All of our devices have that capability and iTSX will be no different. iTSX will be able to data log your vehicle and playback that data on your iPhone / iPad or export the data for playback in the newest version of our Live Link Desktop data logging software.”

Our 2011 Mustang actually makes about 540 rwhp with its street tune, though the torque and 0-60 times are skewed since first and most of second gear are useless on the Stang's stock street tires.

Built In Performance Tests

Another added benefit of the iTSX is its performance test capability.  Unlike many other applications that rely on GPS tracking to determine the tests, the iTSX actually uses the sensor outputs to calculate.  From a stop, we selected the ‘Start’ button on the performance test.  Once the vehicle starts to move, the iTSX detects the movement through the vehicle’s speed sensor.  From there we performed a first through second gear run on our 2011 Mustang, and since it’s daily driven on the stock 235/60/18 street tires, most of those gears were worthless.  Once we get back to the track with the drag radials installed, we will see how it equates to the track’s slips.

Diagnostic Code Reader

The last feature offered on the iTSX is the diagnostic code reader.  This option is designed to help troubleshoot check engine lights and identify the source of the problem. If a trouble code is activated, the tuner has the ability to erase the codes, and hopefully eliminate a short term fault.

The Technology Is In Your Hands

The iTSX gives enthusiasts with Apple devices the ability to reduce the cost and clutter commonly associated with aftermarket tuning.  A small and simple device plugs into your OBD-II port, while the iTSX application automatically pairs to it. Custom tuning has been simplified as mail order tunes can be loaded directly to the device and don’t have to go through the hassle of connecting to an additional program to load the tunes. The virtual gauge set works great for fast-displaying heads up gauges and also a means of data logging.

And SCT isn’t done developing the iTSX, “The best thing about iTSX being an app is the expandability,” explained Roi. “The sky is the limit because we aren’t limited by hardware like past devices. We have some cool features planned in 2012. I can tell you we didn’t forget about the Android device guys or GM enthusiasts. They should look for a Droid version of iTSX in the near future with GM support around the same time.” Technology in tuning has definitely come a long way in recent years and the iTSX is currently at the forefront of the market.