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PIE Readies Car OEM-Integration Kits For iPhone 5

Canoga Park, Calif. — Precision Interface Electronics (PIE) will go to next week’s Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show to demonstrate OEM-interface technology compatible with the iPhone 5 and other Apple mobile devices equipped with the new eight-pin Lightning connector.

PIE said it expects to deploy the technology in a variety of new products in the coming year.

The technology is designed to be compatible with the iPhone 5, fourth-generation iPad, iPad Mini, and the latest iPod Touch and Nano. All come with a Lightning connector.

The prototype on display will feature a type A USB input that will take in digital USB audio from the new Apple devices, then convert the audio to analog RCA audio for connection to any OEM or aftermarket auxiliary input. “The concept here is that we are still maintaining a single connection to the Apple device (using the Apple supplied Lightning-to-USB cable) that provides charging and audio out,” said Eddie Lucero, PIE’s chief product engineer.

PIE’s current kits, like most OEM-integration kits, incorporate a proprietary connector designed for use with a PIE cable that plugs into the 30-pin connectors of previous-generation Apple devices for charging, control, and audio, Lucero said. Those kits take in analog audio over the PIE cable from the Apple devices’ 30-pin connector. Apple’s eight-pin Lightning connector, in contrast, does not spit out analog audio.

OEM-integration kits with proprietary connectors that take in analog audio have been the industry’s integration-kit standard, said Lucero. “To provide a cost-effective solution, this was the industry standard. Nobody needed to use USB until recently.”

Until PIE’s new kits come out, consumers can use PIE’s existing kits and plug Apple’s $29 30-pin-to-USB adapter into their latest-generation Apple device, Lucero said. “For the long term, however, it has been our experience that consumers don’t like multiple pieces and multiple connections. They want a single, simple solution.”

The Las Vegas show will be held Oct. 30 through Nov. 2.