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Car Audio Aftermarket Coping With iPhone 5, iOS6

New York – Some autosound suppliers have begun to work through challenges posed by Apple’s new eight-pin Lightning connector and new iOS 6 operating system.

 Other suppliers have found no compatibility problems, and still others are testing their products to determine compatibility.

Autosound supplier Alpha-Nav, for instance, completed testing and found that its AN5650NV multimedia/navigation head unit is compatible with the Lightning connector on the new iPhone 5 and iPod Touch and with the iOS 6 OS, which appears in the new Apple devices and can be downloaded to previous-generation Apple devices.

Alpha-Nav also determined that its $599-suggested head unit with 6.2-inch touchscreen is compatible with iOS 6 devices’ Bluetooth features, including stereo Bluetooth and Bluetooth’s AVRCP remote-control profile.

Meantime, Alpine found that seven of its aftermarket head units won’t play back audio from Apple’s new devices via the head units’ Made for iPod/iPhone USB ports. The products are the INE-S920HD, INE-Z928HD. IVE-W535HD, iDA-X305S, iDA-X305, iDA-X100 and iDA-X001. “We are currently investigating the root cause for the issues, and we will continue to provide updates as soon as they are available,” said Alpine product planning manager Melvin Diaz.

For its part, Pioneer, said it is overcoming operational issues affecting its AppRadio head units and its head units with Advanced App Mode when the head units are connected to an iPhone 4S or iPhone 4 running iOS 6.

To resolve these issues, the Pioneer AppRadio app residing on the Apple devices requires an update, as do each AppRadio-compatible third-party app, Pioneer said. So far, the company has updated its AppRadio app to version 1.8.1 and made it available for download from the iTunes App Store. Select third-party AppRadio apps have also been updated. The updates restore the ability to launch compatible third-party apps from the head units’ touchscreens. The updates also restore the head units’ pinch-to-zoom function when using third-party apps that support that feature.

The updated third-party apps are Extra Mile, Inrix Traffic, StreamS HiFi Radio and MotionX GPS Drive navigation. Apps to be updated include Aupeo, Best Parking, Car Keyboard, Car Media Player, DashCommand, Livio Radio internet radio, Mixtrax, MotionX GPS Drive voice navigation, and Pandora and Rdio Internet radio.

Pioneer’s six U.S.-market head units affected by the iOS 6 change on the iPhone 4S and iPhone 4 are the SPH-DA100, SPH-DA02, SPH-DA01, AVIC-Z140BH, AVIC-X940BT, and AVH-P8400BH.

On Tuesday, Audiovox announced that DICE’s MediaBridge and Universal 200 OEM-integration kits work out of the box with Apple’s new iPhone 5, the new iPod Touch and Nano, and older iPhones upgraded with iOS 6. The kits deliver factory-radio control of connected Apple devices and other devices, including a satellite-radio tuner.

For its part, head-unit suppliers JVC and Sony are hopeful but awaiting the results of compatibility tests before they state whether their aftermarket head units with Made for iPod/iPhone USB ports are compatible with the new Apple devices and with the new iOS 6 on previous-generation Apple devices. “Our CD, A/V and nav head units have accepted digital audio from iPod/iPhone through USB since 2009, which gets us over the first barrier to compatibility,” said Jacob Hardin, JVC’s national product supervisor. “These receivers have historically used their internal DAC to convert the incoming audio source.”

Made for iPod/iPhone USB ports on home and car audio products stream digital PCM audio from connected Apple devices, suppliers explain. To maintain compatibility with these products, the Lightning connector on the iPhone 5 and new iPods continue to stream PCM audio through their supplied Lightning-to-USB cable to Apple-certified USB ports on head units and home A/V receivers.