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Pioneer Ships $399 AppRadio For iPhone

New York – Pioneer
finalized the pricing and availability of its much-touted AppRadio automotive head
unit and announced features not previously disclosed.

The double-DIN AM/FM RDS head unit,
which lacks a CD player but controls select iPhone apps via its capacitive
touchscreen, is the first car entertainment system — OEM or aftermarket — to
use the iPhone as its primary source of content, Pioneer said. It’s also
intended to expand the aftermarket customer base to smartphone power users who
use their phone for multiple purposes throughout the day and wouldn’t otherwise
consider replacing a factory head unit, the company said.

The product is available for an expected everyday retail of $399 at Best Buy,, and other select
authorized retailers, Pioneer announced here at the Consumer Electronics
Association (CEA) Line Show.

AppRadio is the aftermarket’s first head
unit with a capacitive, rather than resistive, LCD touchscreen to enable
iPhone-like gesture control of apps, Pioneer said. The only hard buttons are
power on/off and volume.

Using the touchscreen, users can access music and video stored on a USB-connected
iPhone or iPod Touch. The touchscreen also controls selected apps, including
Pandora Radio and a Cloud-based navigation service, equipped with a Pioneer API
to display
their user interface and content on the device’s 6.1-inch WVGA display.

AppRadio was previewed earlier this year, Pioneer revealed five iPhone apps
that would be available
with its API. They were Pandora Internet
Radio, the Motion X GPS Drive Cloud-based navigation service, Inrix’s real-time
traffic app, and Rdio, an on-demand music subscription service with
social-network functions. The fifth was
Google Maps local search, enabling users to find destinations and view
route-direction lists to those locations. These apps can be used while a car is in

For location-based services, AppRadio
comes with an external GPS antenna whose embedded GPS receiver overrides the
iPhone’s GPS receiver to deliver more accurate location information. The
antenna also turns the iPod Touch into a navigation device.

the preview, Pioneer added access to the iPhone’s contacts, calendar and photos
apps. The contacts function provides direct access from the head unit to stored
contacts for hands-free calling via Bluetooth, routing via Google Maps, and sending
the user’s GPS location via e-mail.

the vehicle parked and the parking brake fully engaged, calendar displays
stored calendar and event items, and photos provides onscreen viewing of the
user’s photos, slide shows, geotagged photos and videos taken with an iPhone 4.

As previously announced, video-related
iPhone and Touch apps, such as YouTube and Netflix, display their video on the
screen only when the parking brake is released.

enables direct access to the latest iPod functions, such as custom playlists
and Genius Mixes, which let users automatically create playlists of similar
songs from songs in their music library.

The head unit, designed for use with the
of the fourth-generation iPhone and iPod
also features hands-free Bluetooth with included microphone (but not stereo
Bluetooth) for use with the iPhone and other cellphones, 4×50-watt amplifier,
backup-camera input, connection to steering-wheel-control adapters, one set of
preamp outputs, and upgradable OS and firmware — via MicroSD card slot — to
potentially connect to future Apple products.