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Pioneer Launches Aftermarket CarPlay

Long Beach, Calif. — Pioneer has begun offering aftermarket CarPlay.

Free firmware updates are available to bring Apple’s CarPlay to five currently available NEX in-dash multimedia receivers and multimedia/navigation receivers. The company also launched its fourth-generation mech-less AppRadio head unit, which also gets Car Play.

The five NEX multimedia receivers are priced from a suggested $700 to $1,400. The AppRadio4 SPH-DA120 is priced at a suggested $600.

Current NEX owners can load the firmware update onto a USB stick for connection to a receiver’s USB input. Pioneer is also sending firmware to authorized retailers for installation.

CarPlay requires the use of an Apple 5, 5s or 5c and later phones and a Lightning-to-USB cable. Once the iPhone is plugged into the head unit, the CarPlay user interface automatically launches to let drivers make and receive calls, use Apple Maps for navigation, select stored music and podcasts, and listen to streaming music services, including iTunes Radio. Users can also use Siri to control these functions by voice as well as compose text messages,

 CarPlay also lets users stream Spotify and iHeartRadio, and Apple has promised CarPlay will support more streaming apps.

CarPlay was developed by Apple for use by automakers, and so far, only the Ferrari FF features it, with more to come.

All five heads offer Siri Eyes Free, built-in MirrorLink, and AppRadio Mode, which displays the GUI and video of newer iPhones and many Android phones to control stored content and control AppRadio-supported apps. AppRadio Mode enables control of a greater variety of iPhone apps, all of which are AppRadio-enabled. AppRadio Mode does not deliver voice control of AppRadio-enabled apps.

The nav systems are Cloud-connected via smartphones to access such connected services as traffic, local search, weather, gas prices and more. Information and data-related icons are overlaid on the nav systems’ screens.

Alpine also plans to ship a CarPlay-enabled receiver soon.

Pioneer originally promised early summer availability of its firmware update.

The company’s AppRadio4 features a 6.2-inch WVGA capacitive touchscreen and combines CarPlay with AppRadio functionality, which requires an HDMI connection, and MirrorLink. Built-in MirrorLink lets consumers connect MirrorLink-equipped smartphones to AppRadio 4 via a USB cable to access certain music and map applications.

The capacitive touchpanel can be used to control all functions, including the app interface, music control/playback, AM/FM radio and Bluetooth. The unit also adds Android Media Transfer Protocol (MTP) for deeper access to files and folders on USB-connected Android devices.

Other features include three sets of high-volt (4-volt) pre-outs, 13-band graphic equalizer, auto EQ, auto time alignment, dual rear USB and MOSFET 4×50-watt amp.