Hands-on with Pioneer & Apple CarPlayMay 19, 2014 By Maureen Jenson
After 74 years in the business, Pioneer knows a thing or two about how to reproduce great-sounding audio and together with Apple, they are making a formidable team.
The consumer electronics press were treated to a day of hands-on demonstrations in San Francisco last week, featuring one of the first aftermarket in-dash car multimedia systems to provide Apple CarPlay, allowing consumers the ability to upgrade the vehicle they already own to use iPhone more seamlessly and safely in the car. CarPlay compatibility will be available in the early summer, via a firmware update to Pioneer's five 2014 NEX in-dash multimedia receivers.
The initial rollout is compatible with Honda, Hyundai, Volvo, Mercedes and Ferrari models. Using large, in-dash Pioneer LCD displays, CarPlay features Siri voice control, giving iPhone users its 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.
We rode along with Ted Cardenas, vice president of marketing for the Car Electronics Division of Pioneer Electronics (USA), and were impressed with the Apple maps for navigation.
“When it comes to Apple's maps, it has changed so much and is such a polished implementation; it is an instant easy-to-use immediate update in live traffic," Cardenas said. "The overall experience now is smarter, safer, more fun to use your phone in the car and enhance your overall driving, entertainment, communication and work productivity seamlessly.”
One of the facets of the seamless design is that on any Apple CarPlay screen the icons are all the same familiar Apple icons we are so used to; this is, of course, done by design. The use of Siri is also a game-changing experience for iPhone users when it comes to productivity. Working with Siri as we drove was almost like having a personal butler or secretary; you can verbally tell Siri to remind you of appointments, send and save voice texts, update your iPhone calendar automatically, and so much more.
Pioneer’s technologies offer such features as an external microphone, lots of software on the backside, noise cancellation, equalizer and subwoofer adjustments and other factors that will enhance the sound quality of the car player experience.