Pioneer Announces Aftermarket CarPlay Support via Firmware Update

Posted by Jim Tanous on April 16, 2014
CarPlay Pioneer

After rumors earlier this week that Alpine was planning to release an aftermarket accessory to enable Apple’s CarPlay on existing vehicles, news broke Tuesday that another car electronics company, Pioneer, was onboard with third-party CarPlay solutions. Pioneer announced via its website that it would offer CarPlay support on a variety of its products, including support for existing in-dash receivers via a firmware update.

Utilizing large, in-dash Pioneer LCD displays, CarPlay featuring Siri voice control, gives iPhone users the features while allowing them to stay focused on the road. With CarPlay, consumers with iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c and iPhone 5 can use Siri to make and receive calls, compose and respond to text messages, use Apple Maps for navigation and listen to their music, podcasts and iTunes Radio.

Pioneer’s 2014 NEX receivers, already on the market, will receive an update to enable CarPlay in “early summer 2014” with built-in support arriving in the company’s future models as well. In North America, Pioneer’s NEX line comprises five products, ranging in price from the $700 AVH–4000NEX to the $1,400 AVIC–8000NEX. Although relatively expensive, Pioneer’s aftermarket solution pales in comparison to the price of a new car, thus far the only other official way to access CarPlay.

Ted Cardenas, Pioneer’s US VP of Marketing:

Pioneer’s years of expertise integrating smartphone connectivity into the automotive environment has provided us the opportunity to be among the first to offer CarPlay to drivers. By providing an aftermarket option, Pioneer’s 2014 in-dash multimedia systems give many iPhone owners the ability to add CarPlay to their current vehicles.

Although the auto industry has pledged future support for CarPlay, the feature is just starting to roll out on select models from relatively few manufacturers, and won’t be widely available until 2015 at the earliest. This limited availability combined with the high cost of entry (a new car), makes affordable aftermarket solutions important to CarPlay’s success. Other car electronics firms such as Clarion and Kenwood have also expressed interest in adding CarPlay support, but neither have detailed any specific plans or timeframes.

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