In-car entertainment, especially when it comes to computer based technology, has always lagged years behind the rest of the world. This is mostly thanks to the lengthy development periods for most vehicles and the fact that the interior structure/shape has to be finalised early on. However, Apple is set to revolutionise the in-car experience later this year – if the press releases are to be believed – with the launch of its CarPlay system, which combines media viewing, internet connectivity and GPS all into one package. And it’s targeting the old cars out there, just as much as the new.
To show that the kit won’t be something super advanced that needs a brand new auto to work, Apple put one of its new CarPlay Pioneer head units in a 1965 Ford Mustang at its annual developer conference. Pocket-Lint hat some great pictures of the thing in action and while it doesn’t necessarily fit in with the décor, it’s impressive to see it clearly working despite the absence of any other modern electronics.
The reason this is possible, is because for the most part the head unit is self contained. You add it in and you have a lot of functionality right off the bat. The rest of it comes from its ability to link up your iPhone, therefore giving it added function and processing power if needed. The only other modification requite is to add a microphone near the driver, so that voice command scan be sent to Siri and you have an in-car hands free system also.
Pioneer will apparently be offering five different CarPlay head units, ranging in price from the budget AVH-8600BT which will set you back £570, to the AVIC-F60DAB at the top end, which will cost £1000. The only catch is if you buy one of these at the moment, it won’t actually come with the CarPlay software loaded. However, there will be an update released later this year that you’ll be able to download – but seemingly only if you own a current iPhone.
There has been some concerns over Siri picking out your voice when you’re in a noisy area, have music playing or are on the motorway, so we’ll have to wait and see how it performs when it gets out there in the wild for people to play with, but for the moment CarPlay is looking quite exciting. It will need to come down in price, quite a lot – especially considering the above costs don’t come with the software yet and there’s untold installation fees at your local garage.
At the very least though, this will put a fire up the buts of other in-car audio makers and should see them pushing for the development of similar systems in the months to come. Alpine has certainly taken notice already, as it recently announced that its new units coming in 2014 will also support CarPlay, though it hasn’t been specific about costs, features or even when they launch.
All we know so far is that something is coming before the end of the year, giving Pioneer a nice lead on everyone. Clarion and JVC are also rumoured to be in talks with Apple, but there’s been nothing official released as of yet.