HondaLink Offers Partial Car-iPhone Integration Ahead of Apple's 'iOS in the Car' Initiative

hondalink_handWhile Apple's upcoming iOS in the Car functionality has been gaining significant attention, some automakers have been developing their own systems to allow for greater integration between iPhones and vehicles.

Back in December, Honda announced new HondaLink apps and functionality to allow iOS devices to integrate with the new 2014 Civic and upcoming 2015 Fit, and MacRumors recently sat down with a Honda representative to walk through the system that offers solid integration for several features but unsurprisingly does not yet achieve the vision of iOS in the Car.

The HondaLink experience for iOS arrives in the form of four App Store apps: a Connect app that serves as the hub for passing information such as weather, location searches, and Honda service information from the iPhone to the car, an Aha app that offers an interface to the streaming music service, a Launcher app that will allow approved third-party apps to interface with HondaLink, and a $59.99 Navigation app that offers turn-by-turn GPS navigation powered by Nokia's HERE services.

Users connect their devices to the HondaLink system through a setup that requires Apple's Lightning Digital AV Adapter and then HDMI and Lightning-to-USB cables to connect to ports on the car's dash. An initial pairing process is required on first connection, but subsequent connections are simply plug and play unless authorization for a new app is required.

hondalink_connect
In many ways, HondaLink feels like a traditional in-dash system with navigation and music capabilities, but in this case it all runs through the iPhone, integrating Aha, Pandora, and iTunes library music services with GPS navigation and phone services. The system also supports Siri Eyes Free mode, allowing users to interact with their devices without taking their eyes off the road.

Running everything through the user's iPhone offers a number of benefits, most notably with the navigation services. While it does require an upfront $59.99 purchase for the app, Honda is able to remotely push map updates and deliver other updates to the service free of charge through the App Store. Many built-in navigation services require regular paid software upgrades to ensure up-to-date map coverage, with updates being offered relatively infrequently.

hondalink_navigation
In our testing, the points-of-interest database and navigation functionalities performed well, and with the navigation software running directly on the iPhone users can preload routes before they even get to their cars, simply plugging in their devices and activating navigation to have the route ready to go. The navigation app also automatically marks the vehicle's location when the car is turned off, a helpful feature for those who occasionally forget where they have parked.

hondalink_pandora
Integration with music services was also smooth, with the ability to easily switch between services such as Pandora and Aha and perform all of the usual functions such as selecting stations, controlling playback, and rating songs.

While the HondaLink platform currently supports traditional in-car functions like navigation, music, and phone calls, the Launcher app structure opens the door to other third-party apps. Honda has so far declined to announce any such apps, but noted to MacRumors that such apps will have to undergo an approval process in order to ensure adequate safeguards against driver distraction and that they meet other standards for integrating with HondaLink.

Clearly many Apple fans are holding out hope for a true iOS in the Car experience, where familiar user interface elements and functionality will find a home on car dashboards, but even if iOS support for the feature arrives soon it is likely to be some time before iOS in the Car becomes widely available. In the meantime, the new HondaLink offers some of those same conveniences as a welcome addition for iPhone owners.

Related Roundup: CarPlay

Top Rated Comments

ninjadex Avatar
94 months ago
That UI certainly isn't doing the Honda brand any justice.:eek: No thanks.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dagamer34 Avatar
94 months ago
Let's all say it together, most in-car UI is atrocious!
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
k2director Avatar
94 months ago
I have to use 4 different apps, can't use my own phone's Maps app, and have to plug a stupid, unwieldy cable into the phone every time I get in the car.

LAME, lame, lame.

Ios in the Car, Honda! No cable, please go wireless.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
KanosWRX Avatar
94 months ago
Just give us a API so any app can display on the screen if the developer wants it to.. Then we don't have to worry about anything, car makers should just give us a dumb screen instead of trying to develop all these horrible apps. And why Nokia Here on a iphone??? Why not the Apple Maps or even better Google Maps?? This is why we just need a "dumb" screen that can take inputs from the phone and leave all the processing on the phone itself..
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Menel Avatar
94 months ago
4 different apps to manage, to cobble together a in-car system.

No thanks.

I want it all native and seamless. When I crank my 4Runner with a Pioneer 8?00BH. Bluetooth automatically pairs, signal strength and battery indicator is on the display.

If I receive a call, it's ready. Phone doesn't have to leave pocket.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Menel Avatar
94 months ago
Only the supported apps work from the factory. Jailbreak the iPhone
bummer, so I wasn't mislead.

Jailbreak has too many negatives to be an option. The rest of us will keep waiting for a properly supported solution.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

flat imac 3d 3 teal

Reliable Leaker Hints Redesigned Colorful iMac to Debut at 'Spring Loaded' Event

Saturday April 17, 2021 4:43 am PDT by
Reliable leaker known as l0vetodream has hinted that Apple may debut its rumored redesigned and colorful iMac at its "Spring Loaded" event on Tuesday, April 20. In a tweet, the leaker posted an image of Apple's logo used for marketing the upcoming event and an image of the retro rainbow Apple logo alongside the colorful lineup of G3 iMacs. Apple leaker Jon Prosser previously reported that...
third gen Apple pencil leaked video

Video of Alleged Third-Generation Apple Pencil Leaks Ahead of Apple Event

Friday April 16, 2021 6:13 am PDT by
A video purporting to be of the third-generation Apple Pencil has today been shared online, showing a glossy finish that mirrors previous leaks. New ✏️ ready to 🚢 #AppleEvent @TommyBo50387266 pic.twitter.com/s4RCDwDi5M— 漢尼斯·拉斯納 🇨🇳 (@ileakeer) April 16, 2021 The brief video from Twitter account @ileakeer, spotted by 9to5Mac, shows an Apple Pencil with a glossy finish much like the...
important battery message iphone 11

Some iPhone 11 Users Seeing Increased Battery Health Percentages After iOS 14.5 Recalibration Process

Friday April 16, 2021 6:32 am PDT by
In the sixth beta of iOS 14.5, Apple introduced a recalibration process for the battery health reporting system on the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max to address inaccurate battery health estimates for some users. Apple said this process might take a few weeks to be completed, and now that two weeks have passed since the sixth beta of iOS 14.5 was released, some users are...
apple event particularly innovative article

Gurman: Apple's 'Spring Loaded' Event Won't Feature Anything 'Particularly Innovative'

Thursday April 15, 2021 1:30 am PDT by
Bloomberg's highly-respected Mark Gurman says that he expects nothing "particularly innovative" or "extraordinary" to launch at Apple's "Spring Loaded" event next week, Tuesday, April 20. Gurman made the remarks during an interview for Bloomberg Technology, in which he reaffirmed that Apple will launch a new 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro, with the higher-end model featuring a brand new...
Top Stories 57 Feature

Top Stories: Apple Event Next Tuesday, Mini-LED iPad Pro, iPhone Rumors

Saturday April 17, 2021 6:00 am PDT by
It feels like we've been waiting forever for new Apple products, but the wait is almost over as Apple has announced a media event for next Tuesday, so make sure to tune into MacRumors for full coverage of everything Apple announces. While that was the big news this week, we also got some new details on Apple's iPhone plans for 2022 and 2023 courtesy of analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, and we also saw...
apple event spring loaded

Apple's 'Spring Loaded' Event Officially Announced for Tuesday, April 20

Tuesday April 13, 2021 9:04 am PDT by
Following an overnight leak by Siri, Apple today officially announced that it will be holding a special "Spring Loaded" event on Tuesday, April 20 at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time at the Steve Jobs Theater on the Apple Park campus in Cupertino, California. As with all of Apple's 2020 events, the April 2021 event will be a digital-only gathering with no members of the media invited to attend in...
maxresdefault

Hands-On With Anker's MagSafe-Compatible Battery Pack

Thursday April 15, 2021 9:39 am PDT by
Anker, a company known for its range of accessories designed for Apple products, recently came out with one of the first MagSafe-compatible battery packs, so we thought we'd check it out to see how it compares to a standard battery pack. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Design wise, Anker's power bank looks like a typical battery pack, but it has magnets built in...
iphone 13 pro max cads eap

iPhone 13 Series CAD Leaks Reveal Larger Camera Dimensions

Friday April 16, 2021 1:53 am PDT by
Information and alleged CADs of the upcoming iPhone 13 series, shared in a video from EverythingApplePro, indicates that Apple plans to make this year's iPhone camera module significantly bigger, likely to make way for larger sensors and sensor-shift stabilization. According to the CADs shared in the video, the iPhone 13 mini, Pro, and Pro Max camera module will all be a "perfect square."...
jaguar car homekit

User Adds Car to HomeKit for In-App Controls and Automations, Showing Future Potential

Thursday April 15, 2021 6:17 am PDT by
Blogger Siobhán Ellis has successfully integrated their electric car into their Apple HomeKit setup, adding in-app toggles for door locking, climate control, and more. The setup, which is outlined in detail on the blog Practical HomeKit, allows multiple elements of a Jaguar I-Pace electric vehicle to be monitored, controlled, and automated using the Home app. Using a HomeBridge plugin for ...
siir apple event april 20

Siri Reveals Apple Event Planned for Tuesday, April 20

Tuesday April 13, 2021 12:04 am PDT by
Siri has apparently prematurely revealed that Apple plans to hold an event on Tuesday, April 20, where the company is expected to reveal brand new iPad Pro models and possibly its long-awaited AirTags trackers. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Upon being asked "When is the next Apple Event," Siri is currently responding with, "The special event is on Tuesday, April...