By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Las Vegas – Pioneer’s car audio division outlined a speedy timetable for bringing head-unit control of core iPhone 5 audio/video functions to multiple in-dash head units.
The company also expanded its selection of in-dash navigation systems to three from two and unveiled three new A/V multimedia head units.
In outlining its plans for advanced iPhone 5 control, Pioneer said that by the end of May, 13 current and newly launched head units with touchscreens will be able to control and display iPhone5-stored music, videos, photos, calendar data, contacts and Google Maps local search results when a Pioneer AppRadio app is installed on the phone. The heads also control third-party iPhone apps equipped with a Pioneer API and display the apps’ user interface and content on the head units’ touchscreens.
Of the 13 head units, eight are current models equipped with what Pioneer calls AppRadio Mode technology (formerly called Advanced AppMode technology), which controls the core A/V functions of the iPhone 4 and 4S. To control the iPhone 5, however, these head units require free firmware upgrades and new adapter-cable solutions because of Apple’s switch to an all-digital 8-pin Lightning connector in the iPhone 5.
Pioneer will offer the firmware upgrades for AppRadio Mode head units already installed or in inventory, and the company will make running firmware changes at the factory for all current AppRadio Mode models but three 2012 models that are being replaced.
Each of the 13 models will also require one of three cable-adapter solutions.
Four head units with rear-panel HDMI port require a new $50-everyday cable from Pioneer combined with Apple’s own $49 Lightning Digital A/V adapter, which converts the iPhone 5’s digital-video output to HDMI. Six head units require a $100-everyday proprietary connector cable and interface module from Pioneer, plus the use of Apple’s own $49 Lightning-to-VGA adapter. Three other heads require Apple’s Lightning-to-VGA adapter plus a $100 Pioneer proprietary connector cable and interface module to convert VGA video to RGB.
All three solutions also require the use of Apple’s Lightning-to-USB cable, which is supplied with the iPhone 5.
With the solutions, the iPhone 5’s video can be transferred to the head units, while audio, control signals and data are carried over wireless Bluetooth.
With the rollout of the solutions, marketing VP Ted Cardenas said Pioneer accomplished a lot in the four months since the iPhone 5 was announced.
In other aftermarket car audio developments, Pioneer launched three new double-DIN navigation A/V receivers, expanding the selection from two. The new models are priced at an everyday $800, $950 and $1,200, and they feature a completely new navigation platform whose benefits include faster route calculation. All three control core A/V functions of the iPhone 4, 4S and 5, and the top two add control of core A/V functions of 18 Android smartphones models via adapter modules.
With the launch of three new A/V multimedia head units, Pioneer is expanding its selection of single-DIN multimedia heads to two from one. Their motorized touchscreens slide out of a single-DIN dash opening. Everyday prices are $450 and $500. The former features AppRadio Mode technology for the iPone 4 and 4S, and the $500 model adds Bluetooth and AppRadio Mode for the iPhone 5.
The third new multimedia head is a $650 double-DIN model with AppRadio Mode for the iPhone 4, 4S and 5 and for select Android smartphones. It adds port for SiriusXM’s universal SVX200 tuner and HD Radio.
Also new is an add-on navigation module for navigation-ready A/V head units. Upgrades over the previous model include higher resolution display and Clear Channel’s Total Traffic Network traffic-data service, delivered by FM RDS broadcasts.
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