Pioneer announced earlier this year that its latest aftermarket NEX infotainment systems will be compatible with CarPlay, allowing customers to install the Apple technology in an existing automobile. The hardware requires only a firmware update that is expected to be available in “a few weeks”, putting the company on or even slightly ahead of its original “early summer” schedule.
Pioneer was in San Francisco this week showcasing the technology, which provides drivers with an integrated experience for placing phone calls, using maps, listening to music and messaging via Siri. As noted by Macworld, demo cars included the high-end $1400 Pioneer AVH-8000NEX system, which contains an in-dash capacitive touchscreen that allows the driver to tap on the infotainment screen to interact with the CarPlay system. CarPlay also supports hands-free operation using Siri to control many of the available functions.
Macworld did note some issues with Siri’s ability to handle background noise in the car, but Pioneer’s Ted Cardenas pointed out that with Siri’s ability to learn and improve over time, those background noises will become less of a distraction as Siri learns to pick out the driver’s voice.
The current version of Apple’s Carplay technology requires a Lightning cable connection between the iPhone and the receiver, limiting its usage to the iPhone 5, iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c. Rumored wireless support over Wi-Fi connection has not been confirmed by Apple, but even then the feature would require updated hardware for Pioneer, as the current NEX systems do not support Wi-Fi connectivity.
Pioneer is one of the first automobile electronics companies to offer an aftermarket CarPlay system to customers who don’t want to purchase a new car in order to experience the feature. Alpine also announced its own series of aftermarket CarPlay receivers, but they are expected to arrive later this year.
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