Apple fast tracks CarPlay hardware development w/ official MFi specs for head units

carplay

Apple’s new CarPlay iOS feature has recently arrived through a limited number of in-dash vehicle entertainment systems and aftermarket products, but Apple has now introduced official guidelines for companies building CarPlay hardware through its Made-for-iPhone/iPad/iPod (MFi) licensing program, according to sources.  Read more

Holiday gift guide: using iPhone and iPad in the car

holiday gift guide iPhone and iPad in the car

The iPhone has easily become the best jukebox in the car with your iTunes library, iTunes Radio, streaming services like Beats Music and Spotify, and great apps for keeping up with podcasts. With hands-free features powered by Siri, you can even stay in touch with phone calls and text messages all without ever taking your eyes off the road. If you’re a passenger, the iPad is a great screen for gaming, reading, watching movies, and more.

This holiday season is especially exciting with new features built-in to iOS like CarPlay and Hey Siri, which allows you to activate Siri while your iPhone or iPad is charging completely hands-free, and below are some of the best products to gift the iPhone or iPad-owning driver this year. Read more

Alpine announces 7-inch iLX-007 aftermarket receiver, its first CarPlay display

V141003 iLX-007_AppleCarPlay-Dash-1

Alpine today announced its first aftermarket in-dash receiver with support for Apple’s CarPlay feature for iPhone users. The new Alpine iLX-007 will be the company’s first display to support CarPlay following Pioneer’s rollout of the feature to its latest NEX displays earlier this month. Alpine’s new in-dash receiver features a 7-inch capacitive touch screen comparable to Pioneer’s high end NEX8000 CarPlay compatible model ($1,400), but at a much lower price point of $800 as it lacks other hardware features.

Alpine’s CarPlay offering is still one of the first on the market yet and joins Pioneer in allowing drivers to have CarPlay without buying a new car. Several automakers have already announced CarPlay availability on certain models of new cars, some of which are already on the road, but will require firmware updates in the future before CarPlay is present. Read more

Rdio announces CarPlay support, 320 kbps audio, & iPhone 6/6 Plus optimizations

Rdio today announced support for CarPlay, allowing its users to listen and control content from the subscription music service using the built-in touchscreen of CarPlay-enabled vehicles.

CarPlay Support. Control Rdio playback and navigate your favorites and playlists from the built-in display in CarPlay-enabled cars.

Vehicles with CarPlay, Apple’s new feature that brings an iOS-like experience to in-dash touchscreens connected to an iPhone, first hit the road earlier this year in pricey new Ferrari models followed by an aftermarket solution from Pioneer. The service only has a handful of app partners so far, but we noted in our recent review that not all apps are playing nice with the feature yet. Apple currently lists iHeartRadio, MLB At Bat, Spotify, Stitcher Radio, CBS Radio, and its own Podcasts and Beats Music apps as supported apps.  Read more

Review: CarPlay has promise, but the road to perfection is long

This is CarPlay

With Pioneer now offering aftermarket CarPlay support through their existing NEX displays, I got the chance to finally test drive CarPlay (without having to buy a new car) and see how Apple’s driving-optimized iPhone experience performs on the road.

Apple describes CarPlay as “a smarter, safer way to use your iPhone in the car” because tasks like making phone calls, sending messages, finding directions, and playing music from your iPhone are completed using Siri and the car’s touch screen rather than fiddling with your phone in your hand.

In short, CarPlay has a lot of promise and already makes a few things easier, but it’s not without its hiccups just yet. I’ll share my hands-on experience with upgrading to CarPlay with an aftermarket Pioneer display including a few interesting tidbits and lots of photos below. Read more

Pioneer finally brings CarPlay equipment to mass market, Spotify app update adds CarPlay support

Pioneer, CarPlay

The CarPlay situation has been murky. Since being announced in the spring, most manufacturers have been quiet on when CarPlay equipment will actually be available to purchase. Pioneer is the first company to deliver on its promise, adding CarPlay as an update to its aftermarket dashboard panels (unless you count Ferrari’s integration into its high-end Ferrari California T).

Existing Pioneer device owners may not need to purchase any extras, as the CarPlay update is free for supported devices. Aforementioned units include the AVIC-8000NEX, AVIC-7000NEX, AVIC-6000NEX, AVIC-5000NEX and the AVH-4000NEX with prices ranging from $700 to $1400.

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Apple quietly removes promise of 2014 CarPlay availability as it adds CBS News Radio compatibility

carplay

Apple has quietly updated its CarPlay microsite which explains the feature to add CBS News Radio to its growing list of apps it grants CarPlay support to, but a bigger change also appears on the CarPlay site this morning. Apple is no longer promising CarPlay support from any automobile manufacturer this year as it has done since its debut in March. While there has been no shortage of CarPlay demoes and availability announcements, actually getting your hands on a model with CarPlay thus far has proven almost impossible.

The site now says CarPlay “will be available” from listed partners without offering any specific timeframe (and removing the 2014 language for specific brands altogether). This is likely due to delays in CarPlay availability thus far, even in models that have announced support earlier this year with cars that are now on the road. Read more

Hyundai announces CarPlay coming this summer to its 2015 Sonata

Hyundai CarPlay

Hyundai announced today at the New York International Auto Show its 2015 Sonata will be the first of its vehicles to feature Apple’s new CarPlay technology bringing phone, messaging, music, and navigation functionality from the iPhone to the in-dash display through iOS and Siri. Apple rebranded its iOS in the Car feature announced at WWDC in 2013 as CarPlay earlier this year with a number of committed partners including Hyundai, and today’s announcement by the automative manufacturer is the first unveiling of its official plans to bring CarPlay to market with its brand.

Hyundai says its 2015 Sonata will be available at dealerships in early summer this year. While pricing and availability specifics have yet to be unveiled, Hyundai’s CarPlay offering is expected to be considerably more affordable than other brands partnered including Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz, and Volvo.

The news comes just one day after Pioneer official announced it will bring CarPlay to a number of its existing 2014 in-dash systems through a firmware update. Ford, Toyota, and other automotive manufacturers are expected to unveil new products at the auto show as it continues through the month, although Honda is the only partner committed to CarPlay in 2014 (per Apple’s CarPlay site) without a compatible car announced.

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Pioneer says CarPlay firmware update for existing 2014 in-dash systems coming this summer

Pioneer, CarPlay

Following reports yesterday that car electronics manufacturer Alpine was planning to launch aftermarket CarPlay units in the fall, Pioneer issued a press release today confirming a firmware update for existing in-dash systems. Pioneer will be bringing Apple’s new CarPlay system to existing vehicles using the company’s five 2014 NEX in-dash multimedia receivers this summer through a firmware update.

Utilizing large, in-dash Pioneer LCD displays, CarPlay featuring Siri® voice control, gives iPhone users the features while allowing them to stay focused on the road. With CarPlay, consumers with iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c and iPhone 5 can use Siri to make and receive calls, compose and respond to text messages, use Apple Maps for navigation and listen to their music, podcasts and iTunes RadioSM. For more information about CarPlay, visit www.apple.com/ios/carplay.

As for what vehicles and in-dash systems it will support, it sounds like it will be limited to 2014 editions of the in-dash receivers mentioned above. For the US, those include the following: Read more

IFA 2013 Roundup: Apple accessories almost stole the show

Samsung received the most attention this year at the IFA consumer technology show with its new Galaxy Gear smartwatch and Galaxy Note devices, but Apple products still dominated much of the show floor when it came to new accessories for tablets and smartphones. Below we’ve put together a huge collection of the new and upcoming accessories for Apple devices that we came across this year in Berlin.  Read more