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Pioneer Bows iPhone 5 Head Unit Controls

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.

Pioneer also expanded its selection of in-dash navigation systems to three from two and unveiled three A/V multimedia head units during International CES, here.

In outlining its plans for advanced iPhone 5 control, Pioneer said by the end of May, 13 current and newly launched head units with touchscreens will be able to control and display iPhone 5-stored music, videos, photos, calendar data, contacts and Google Maps local search results when a Pioneer AppRadio app is installed on the phone. The units 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 eight-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 Lightningto- 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.