CarPlay, Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) recently rebranded in-vehicle device integration system, may soon become more widely available thanks to a new aftermarket infotainment system developed by Japanese consumer electronics maker Pioneer, reports Macworld. Pioneer recently demonstrated a prototype of a CarPlay-compatible NEX infotainment system for vehicles to Macworld and several other media outlets. The system allows fans of Apple’s CarPlay to activate the system in any vehicle that is outfitted with Pioneer’s in-dash NEX receiver. Like the newer vehicles that have CarPlay preinstalled, the system is activated by simply attaching an iPhone with a Lightning cable connector.
As noted by Macworld, the NEX infotainment system is an aftermarket option that can be installed in older vehicles. This greatly expands the availability of Apple’s CarPlay, since the system was previously only available in a few select new vehicles from luxury carmakers. Although Pioneer demonstrated a high-end AVH-8000NEX model with a capacitive touchscreen, entry-level NEX receivers start at around $700, according to Pioneer’s website.
Users that already have NEX systems installed in their vehicles will also be able to obtain the CarPlay compatibility via a software download from Pioneer’s website. According to a Pioneer representative cited by DigitalTrends, CarPlay setup for current NEX owners will only take about five minutes with a USB flash drive. Pioneer is hoping to have its CarPlay-compatible system ready for an early summer launch. However, Pioneer won’t be the only aftermarket CarPlay option for consumers. Alpine Electronics will also begin offering its own aftermarket CarPlay-compatible stand-alone console this fall, reports Nikkei.
Although Apple first introduced its in-vehicle device integration system at last year’s Worldwide Developers Conference as “iOS in the Car,” the company renamed the system “CarPlay” when it reintroduced it at the Geneva Motor Show in March. The latest 2014 models from Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, Honda, Hyundai, and Jaguar Land Rover will include support for CarPlay, while BMW, Ford, GM, Kia, Mitsubishi, Nissan, PSAPeugeotCitroën, Subaru, Suzuki, and Toyota will offer CarPlay compatibility in future models.
As noted by Apple in a press release, the Siri-powered CarPlay system allows users to make calls, listen to messages, and dictate responses, all without using their hands. Users also have the option to enhance any Apple Maps shown on the dashboard display by having Siri provide spoken turn-by-turn directions. CarPlay requires an iPhone 5 or higher with iOS 7.1 or later installed.
The CarPlay system could soon become an important component of Apple’s overall ecosystem. In-vehicle infotainment systems that are able to seamlessly integrate with consumers’ mobile devices are a growing trend in the automotive industry, according to market research firm ABI Research. ABI Research predicted that almost half of all in-vehicle infotainment systems will use Apple’s system by 2018.
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