Pioneer Electronics is now one of the first aftermarket companies to support Apple’s highly anticipated CarPlay feature that makes it easy to use an iPhone or iPad with a car radio.
Pioneer said it just began shipping a new CarPlay-capable AppRadio 4 car stereo deck to dealers around the country including Best Buy, Crutchfield and Car Toys.
Pioneer also launched a firmware update for five current radios so that they are also compatible with CarPlay.
CarPlay brings a familiar Apple interface to the car for accessing maps, music, messages and iTunes Radio plus apps like Spotify and iHeartRadio. The icons are super large, and users can access most features by voice including the ability to respond to texts and have texts read aloud.
The new AppRadio 4 carries a $600 suggested retail price. It is a full function deck with a capacitive touch screen similar to that found on a smartphone or tablet, measuring in 6.2 inches with WVGA resolution. The radio offers HDMI input, Bluetooth, and the ability to work with iPhone and Android phones as well as Siri and Google Voice. It also has MirrorLink to mirror and control certain non-Apple smartphones. Called the model SPH-DA120, it has an AM/FM radio and it uses Android Media Transfer Protocol (MTP) for deeper access to files and folders on Android devices.
With CarPlay, the radio recognizes an iPhone 5 or iPhone 6 when its plugged. Some apps work with CarPlay including Beats Music, iHeartRadio, At Bat (MLB baseball), Spotify, Stitcher, CBS Radio and Podcasts. Apple says more apps are on the way.
Through Pioneer’s new firmware update, owners of certain Pioneer radios can use CarPlay. The firmware update is here: www.pioneerelectronics.com/firmware, and may be downloaded to a USB device and then uploaded to the radio. Or users can go to a local Pioneer car audio dealers.
Alpine Electronics is expected to deliver a CarPlay ready radio without a CD player this month.
Although several car makers have announced they will offer CarPlay, to our knowledge, only Ferrari is offering it at present.
For more information visit www.pioneer-carglobal.com/CarPlay.
Top photo: AppRadio 4