updated 12:39 pm EDT, Fri May 16, 2014
Accessory maker speeds up CarPlay deployment
Pioneer has begun demonstrating Apple CarPlay-ready NEX head units to various media outlets, and will actually introduce CarPlay support in "a few weeks," the company says. That support is slated to arrive in the form of a software update for current NEX units, beating expectations that the public would have to wait for new models shipping in the summer. To install the update, owners of compatible NEX products will have to download firmware from Pioneer's website and copy it to a USB drive.
The update should make Pioneer the first company with any form of CarPlay on the market, beating even car manufacturers like Volvo and Ferrari, which are planning native integration in 2014 vehicles. Aftermarket add-ons like Pioneer's may be crucial, since even as more carmakers come on board, relatively few new vehicles are expected to get native support, leaving old ones out of the picture almost entirely.
Pioneer's implementation should be full-featured but relatively unadorned; the only unique onscreen element will be an icon to return to the NEX main menu. Prices for the upcoming CarPlay-compatible NEX units will start at $700.