In March, Mercedes-Benz said that it had plans to offer aftermarket CarPlay units by the end of 2014. As noticed by MacRumors, a Nikkei report from Saturday reveals that car electronics manufacturer Alpine has similar plans.
Alpine will begin selling a standalone car console that integrates CarPlay in the fall. Although many car manufacturers are going to offer CarPlay-equipped cars in their new ranges very soon, Alpine will be the first company to sell an independent CarPlay unit, that can be installed on current cars. The cost is reported to be between $500 to $700.
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The unit will offer the same functionality as CarPlay cars, from text messages to maps to Siri, but in a standalone device (‘likely 7 inches’ in size) sold aftermarket. Like other CarPlay solutions currently announced, the unit will talk to the iPhone over a wired connection.
Interestingly, Alpine is not listed on Apple’s CarPlay page so it is currently unclear whether the device will actually be ‘officially certified’ by Apple or whether it will exploit a sneaky workaround to interoperate with iOS 7 devices.
As shown in the image above, Alpine currently offers navigation systems that integrate with ‘Siri Eyes Free’. Therefore, it seems likely that the company is genuinely exploring CarPlay-integrated consoles, as they are already familiar with iOS connectivity.