Pioneer: iPhone Incompatible With Some Head Units

Long Beach, Calif. – Pioneer has tested the iPhone 5 with its current car stereo head units, found incompatibilities with select models, and hopes to resolve the issues, marketing VP Ted Cardenas told TWICE.
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Long Beach, Calif. – Pioneer has tested the iPhone 5 with its current car stereo head units, found incompatibilities with select models, and hopes to resolve the issues, marketing VP Ted Cardenas told TWICE.

Although the iPhone 5 is compatible with the majority of Pioneer’s 20 current head units, five models are incompatible in a variety of ways. Those head units are the AppRadio, AppRadio2, and three heads with Advanced App Mode: the AVIC-X940BT, AVIC-Z140BH, and AVH-P8400BH.

(For tables listing the incompatibilities by model number, go to http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/PUSA/Apple+Compatibility/.) 

The latter three display an error code when the iPhone 5 is connected with the iPhone 5’s supplied Lightning-to-USB cable, preventing audio from streaming over the cable into the head units, he said. “There is a possibility” that Apple’s 30-pin-to-Lightning adapter, when used with Apple’s existing 30-pin-to-USB cable, will resolve the music-playback issue for Pioneer and other head-unit suppliers, but testing the hypothesis awaits the availability of the Apple adapter. If the tests find the adapter doesn’t do the job, Pioneer might be able to develop a firmware update to restore communication, he said.

An Apple customer-service representative told TWICE that the adapter will be available sometime this month.

Pioneer’s AppRadio and AppRadio2 head units also don’t stream iPhone5-stored music over a wired connection because those head units require the use of a Pioneer-supplied DIN-to-30-pin cable connector, which doesn’t plug into the iPhone 5’s Lightning connector. That problem, however, might be resolved with the use of Apple’s planned 30-pin-to-Lightning adapter, Cardenas said.

All five head units also won’t control an iPhone 5’s Pandora music app, or stream its music. The AppRadio and AppRadio2 models add the loss of App Mode Music streaming of other select Internet-radio apps.

Apple’s adapter won’t resolve a major incompatibility issue with all five head units: control of select iPhone 5 third-party apps and core iPhone apps – such as calendar and music player -- from the head units’ touchscreen display, which also displays the apps’ and features’ user interface. This feature is called AppRadio mode in the two AppRadio models and Advanced App Mode in the three other head units.

The feature is incompatible with the iPhone 5 because the head units stream the apps’ user interface and content via an analog-video input, but the iPhone 5 spits out digital video from its Lightning connector, not analog video.

Nonetheless, Cardenas said, “I am confident we will have solutions for that [in 2013].”

For the same reason, four other head units that display iPhone-stored video via analog-video input will be unable to stream iPhone 5-stored video. The ability to view video from select phone apps on the screens of these four head units is also lost, as it is with the AVIC-X940BT, AVIC-Z140BH, and AVH-P8400BH head units.

“Certainly in 2013, there will be [cable] solutions by Pioneer and other manufacturers for iPhone 5 video,” Cardenas said.

Six of eight stereo-Bluetooth head units have issues with Bluetooth AVRCP control of music stored on the iPhone 5 and on iOS6-equipped iPhone 4 and 4S phones, but a firmware update is in the works. Availability of the update hasn’t been determined.

All six of the head units will connect via Bluetooth to the Apple phones to stream phone-stored music, but users won’t be able to use the head units’ controls to control play/pause or track up/down of phone-stored music, nor will users be able to view song metadata on the head units.

Previously, Pioneer announced that it is overcoming operational issues affecting AppRadio, AppRadio2, and head units with Advanced App Mode when the head units are connected to an iPhone 4S or iPhone 4 running iOS 6.

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