While Apple’s CarPlay system might look like one of the most advanced in-car infotainment systems in the world, it’s far from affordable for most people. Grabbing one of the Apple built units costs close to a thousand pounds and Pioneer’s first generation units weren’t much better. Fortunately some more economical versions are starting too appear, like this one from Alpine which is set to cost closer to £500.
Called the iLX-007, it marks the first Alpine head unit that supports Apple’s new iPhone twinning technology. It’s only available in North America right now, with a price tag of $800. That makes it much cheaper than some of the already available units, though not exactly the most cost effective. However it does come with some added features, like the ability to hook up a rear facing camera to the display, for parking purposes and Alpine’s Tunelt app, which can be used to help tune in your car’s speakers and audio system.
Of course it also comes with all of the standard features of Apple’s CarPlay system, like the ability to hook up with the user’s iPhone for navigation and media streaming purposes. As long as you’re in an area with 3G access, or sat on your driveway hooked up to WiFi, you can use applications like Spotify and Podcast apps to listen to music and talk radio while driving. There’s also Apple’s Maps feature which offers tracking and navigation on the go, with turn by turn instructions and vocal commands as well as on-screen ones.
There’s also the built in Siri personal assistant, letting you send texts, talk on the phone or set reminders for yourself while on the go, all through voice commands rather than using the touch screen. However, that physical input option is still there, should you require it; though it’s not recommended for use while driving.
CarPlay has been steadily rolling out over the past few months, after an initial unveiling earlier this year. It first appeared in Ferrari’s latest line of supercars and has since shown up in Hyundai’s Sonata saloon vehicles. These were Apple CarPlay units too, not third party head units with new firmware installed. However, until more car manufacturers make use of Apple’s new infotainment system, it’s those third party installations which are likely to dominate the market. They have the potential to be cheaper, and offer features that Apple doesn’t so there will be many reasons to opt for that rather than the official version.
Still, many automakers have shown an interest in using the first party Apple hardware, including Audi, BMW, Chrysler, Dodge, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru, Toyota, Volvo, and many others, though it’s not been made clear if or when these manufacturers actually plan to implement the technology. Clearly Ferrari and Hyundai were raring to go but others seem to be holding back to test the public’s response to the new technology first.