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Old Apr 24, 2014, 10:01 AM   #1
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Pioneer Talks CarPlay: Working with Apple, Pricing, and the Future




Following last month's formal introduction of Apple's CarPlay system for integrating iPhones with in-dash vehicle systems, there were some questions about whether the feature would be able to make its way to aftermarket products or if it would be limited to auto manufacturers putting it into brand-new vehicles. That question was answered earlier this month, with both Alpine and Pioneer announcing their plans to launch CarPlay-compatible systems.

Pioneer appears to be in the best position to move quickly with CarPlay, as its latest NEX systems already include CarPlay-compatible hardware, which will be enabled with a firmware update expected in early summer. In contrast, Alpine will not be launching its CarPlay support until the fall as part of new product debuts.

MacRumors recently spoke with Ted Cardenas, marketing vice president in Pioneer's car electronics division, and he shared a bit of perspective about CarPlay and its development. Far from being taken by surprise by Apple's CarPlay announcement last month, Cardenas notes that Apple signaled to Pioneer that there would be coming changes to in-car connectivity even prior to last year's Worldwide Developers Conference, where Apple first showed what was then known as iOS in the Car as part of its iOS 7 preview.

According to Cardenas, development picked up in earnest in July of last year, with Apple putting together a dedicated team to help car manufacturers and aftermarket electronics companies build out their CarPlay support. Unsurprisingly, Apple took a fairly hands-on role in the process, sharing specifications and other information to assist Pioneer with its work.

Cardenas notes that Pioneer is "very excited" to be at the forefront of CarPlay, working with Apple to deliver solutions to consumers so that they don't need to wait to purchase a new car in order to experience the feature. He also points out that Pioneer has a particularly vested interest in getting CarPlay implementation right, as it may be one of the major factors influencing what brand and model of in-dash system to purchase, whereas CarPlay performance will undoubtedly be a much lower priority for customers looking to purchase an entirely new vehicle.

In addressing the entry cost for aftermarket CarPlay support, Cardenas acknowledges that the current $700-$1400 range for Pioneer's NEX series is higher than many consumers would like to see. But CarPlay requires robust technology, and the multi-core processors, significant RAM and onboard storage, and touchscreens needed in NEX systems for the feature all contribute to driving costs up. Pioneer is certainly looking to bring down that entry price for CarPlay-compatible systems and drive further expansion of the technology, but the company understandably won't have anything to announce on that front until after the CarPlay firmware update is delivered to the first wave of Pioneer products.

Pioneer's initial U.S. lineup of CarPlay-compatible NEX systems
Pioneer has a long history in consumer electronics and vehicle electronics in particular, and the company has long sought to embrace new technologies to enhance the customer experience. To that end, Pioneer was one of the first companies to make a significant effort into smartphone-car integration with its AppRadio system launched in 2011.

The firm is also supporting the MirrorLink consortium that is offering similar integration as CarPlay for non-Apple smartphones. Even with that support, Cardenas believes that CarPlay support will be very popular with consumers, given Apple's place in the market and users' desire for simplicity and seamless integration.

MacRumors also asked Cardenas about any potential plans to bring Wi-Fi support for CarPlay to Pioneer's products, but he had nothing further to share on the topic given than none of Pioneer's current NEX models offer Wi-Fi support. Volvo had initially reported that Wi-Fi support for CarPlay would be "coming in the near future", but the company quickly removed that statement from its press release and Apple has been silent about any plans to augment CarPlay with wireless connectivity to eliminate the need to directly connect the user's iPhone to the car via a cable.

On its CarPlay page, Apple notes that the feature is coming to specific models from Ferrari, Honda, Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz, and Volvo this year, although Honda has yet to make any announcement about its plans. Apple also lists Alpine and Pioneer as on board for aftermarket support, and there may yet be more announcements coming.

Article Link: Pioneer Talks CarPlay: Working with Apple, Pricing, and the Future
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Old Apr 24, 2014, 10:03 AM   #2
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Buy the new AppRadio 3 when it was released last fall and they're not going to support it. Not happy.
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Old Apr 24, 2014, 10:07 AM   #3
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This is great news. Cool.
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Old Apr 24, 2014, 10:10 AM   #4
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I get that it can't be the cheapest, but how is what's basically a glorified iPhone mirror more expensive than the top-end iPhone??
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Old Apr 24, 2014, 10:10 AM   #5
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Of course it's going to be Wi-Fi enabled.
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Old Apr 24, 2014, 10:13 AM   #6
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Of course it's going to be Wi-Fi enabled.
And stick the WiFi radio where? Obvious answer of being directly inside the unit is going to lead to very poor performance because of all the metal around it.
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Old Apr 24, 2014, 10:15 AM   #7
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the faster they market it the better their revenue
I would be the first to buy when this thing comes out.
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Old Apr 24, 2014, 10:16 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by afro-ninja View Post
I get that it can't be the cheapest, but how is what's basically a glorified iPhone mirror more expensive than the top-end iPhone??
Well, it does have several things that a phone doesn't. Like an HD radio, audio amplifier, larger screen, DVD player, etc. But yeah, these things are pretty high priced. A better comparison IMO is to a home audio device. So, how can one of the best home receivers around be MSRP $1300 (Denon X4000), and some of these little car devices are more?
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Old Apr 24, 2014, 10:18 AM   #9
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I hope they're true to their word about getting the integration right. I've been looking into a head unit, but was waiting for CarPlay news. If they have it working great on that 8000 series I'd love to get me some capacitave touchiness in my dash.
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Old Apr 24, 2014, 10:19 AM   #10
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And stick the WiFi radio where? Obvious answer of being directly inside the unit is going to lead to very poor performance because of all the metal around it.
Not sure if serious....
Car receivers have external antennas. Plural, in the case of products like this.
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Old Apr 24, 2014, 10:19 AM   #11
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Would be much cheaper if they just used a "dumb" screen where the phone pushes video to the screen instead, kind of like apple tv but for cars. Then the apps could just do all the processing and what not on the phone and send it to the display. But no, that would be the logical choice. Then you could have other companies send their content to the screen in the same way so your no locked into a particular phone company. I am so disappointed by what the cell phone companies decided to do with the in car infotainment... just not what's best for the consumer.
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Old Apr 24, 2014, 10:24 AM   #12
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A new Pioneer head unit with CarPlay may finally allow me to replace my aging Ford Sync system in my car, I know that it can all be retained using adapters but that's just an expensive hassle.
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Old Apr 24, 2014, 10:25 AM   #13
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I don't think I would go out and find a car with this in it. It would be nice if the car I wanted included it, but so far it just doesn't seem all that exciting... just me?
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Old Apr 24, 2014, 10:27 AM   #14
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Okay I love apple but this interface looks ugly as sin

Car companies should be allowed to skin the icons or do something

Ugh so ugly
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Old Apr 24, 2014, 10:27 AM   #15
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I'm predicting CarPlay will come out on the 2015 Mustang... What do you guys think?
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Old Apr 24, 2014, 10:40 AM   #16
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Surely that can't be the actual interface... and does it require a phone to use it?
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Old Apr 24, 2014, 10:40 AM   #17
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I was all set to go get a NEX5000 for my 2013 F-150, but much to my disappointment, there is no dash kit for the 2013 F150, other than Metra. Metra is $600 and it puts the head unit quite low, not ideal. Very disappointed.
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Old Apr 24, 2014, 10:41 AM   #18
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I just don't understand why CarPlay head units are more expensive then their AppRadio http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/PU...pRadio.Compare
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Old Apr 24, 2014, 10:42 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by afro-ninja View Post
I get that it can't be the cheapest, but how is what's basically a glorified iPhone mirror more expensive than the top-end iPhone??
If they sold 9 million of these in three days the price would come down.
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Old Apr 24, 2014, 10:45 AM   #20
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Why not just put a retina iPad mini in the centre console, and use Siri for voice commands. An iPhone could also be used as a wireless hotspot while driving for the iPad.
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Old Apr 24, 2014, 10:47 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by afro-ninja View Post
I get that it can't be the cheapest, but how is what's basically a glorified iPhone mirror more expensive than the top-end iPhone??
Is it actually mirrored, or does the iPhone use the in-dash display as a secondary (non-mirrored) display? If it's the former, I'm not interested, but the latter would be fine.
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Old Apr 24, 2014, 10:50 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by KanosWRX View Post
Would be much cheaper if they just used a "dumb" screen where the phone pushes video to the screen instead, kind of like apple tv but for cars. Then the apps could just do all the processing and what not on the phone and send it to the display. But no, that would be the logical choice. Then you could have other companies send their content to the screen in the same way so your no locked into a particular phone company. I am so disappointed by what the cell phone companies decided to do with the in car infotainment... just not what's best for the consumer.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that what CarPlay does? It streams H.264 video from the iPhone to the CarPlay-compatible hardware and handles sending/receiving of touch events, and of course audio streaming. Maybe I'm wrong, but that's what reports I've read have said.

As for lock-in, if it supports MirrorLink (an open standards based equivalent to CarPlay which has existed well before CarPlay), you're not locked in to one company. Many of the newer Android devices support MirrorLink, and it's an open standards so anyone can support it. And Pioneer is planning to support MirrorLink in these devices (if they don't already?).

That said, I think this part is overblown and may be Pioneer trying to justify selling the NEX, which may be overkill:
"But CarPlay requires robust technology, and the multi-core processors, significant RAM and onboard storage"

I would think you'd need little more than a chip for decoding H.264 and some basic hardware. Like you said, the kind of hardware found in an Apple TV I think would be sufficient (along with some basic car audio hardware including a touch screen). I think it would be possible for a reasonably priced (like $350) receiver that has both CarPlay and MirrorLink support to be produced.
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Old Apr 24, 2014, 10:50 AM   #23
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I'm not an expert on head units, but a quick look at the Pioneer website seems to show the NEX as different than AppRadio. Look a the specs, NEX offers more than Appradio, this is probably the difference in the price.
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Old Apr 24, 2014, 10:51 AM   #24
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Surely that can't be the actual interface... and does it require a phone to use it?
Yes, CarPlay is basically iPhone mirroring.
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Old Apr 24, 2014, 11:01 AM   #25
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The point is to get your eyes off your phone and focused on driving. The iPhone is just a source device. I agree the cost of a head unit does not need to be in the price range of the NEX units, its just that the NEX units are compatible, on purpose or not, and Pioneer is capitalizing on that. Prices wil come down, unless Apple charges a premium for the licence.
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