updated 06:00 pm EDT, Wed May 25, 2011
Pioneer AppRadio confirmed with iPhone hooks
Pioneer showed its hand following earlier leaks and unveiled the AppRadio on Wednesday. The in-car system centers on a hinted-at 6.1-inch capacitive touchscreen as its interface, the first of its kind in a car, but is now known to lean almost exclusively on iOS apps for its real strength. Both an official AppRadio app and third-party apps with the relevant code can share the Internet connection, pipe music or video, or navigate the car using Google Maps.
Several apps are already working now that include a navigation app from Inrix (free, App Store), MotionX GPS Drive (99 cents, App Store), Rdio (free, App Store), and Pandora (free, App Store). Pioneer is promising to help drivers and send notifications when new apps are available as well as to upgrade the AppRadio title itself.
As a conventional AV head-end, the AppRadio can use the official iPod Out feature to show an adaptation of Apple's official interface on the larger screen on devices that support it, including for Genius playlists and other newer features. Pioneer claims an edge over other digital radios. it has the Dock Connector plug easily accessible. Owners can tune into AM or FM radio as well as make Bluetooth calls routed from a phone.
Notably absent is any kind of optical drive to play music or movies, making it one of the few to drop legacy formats.
Using the full feature set of the AppRadio needs either an iPhone 4 or fourth-generation iPod touch with at least iOS 4.2 onboard. Pioneer anticipates the AppRadio arriving in stores by late June for $500.