Early Apple CarPlay Reviews Cite Ease of Use, Excellent Siri Voice Integration
Apple and several of its partners showed off CarPlay at its official unveiling earlier this year, mainstream users are finally getting their hands on the system with Pioneer's release of its promised CarPlay update for for several of its aftermarket car audio receiver yesterday.
Early reviews of CarPlay from Consumer Reports and Australian technology and car blog EFTM suggest the system is indeed easy to use and effective at reducing driver distraction, thanks to excellent Siri integration.
Consumer Reports points out the many benefits offered by Siri, which allows you to send text messages, get directions, set reminders, and more without touching your iPhone.
As handy as Siri’s natural speech recognition is when you’re just walking around with your phone, it really comes into its own in the car. Siri makes it easy to choose music, get directions, and read or send text messages—all by using your voice with natural speech, rather than menu-driven, formulaic commands.
Consumer Reports also notes that updating the AVIC-5000NEX unit was easy, requiring the owner to download the firmware to a USB stick, plug the stick into the receiver, and wait for unit to update itself.
For his part, Trevor Long of EFTM provides a detailed walkthrough with screenshots of CarPlay's major features. Demoing Pioneer's AVH-X8650BT stereo installed in a 2010 Mazda 2, Long shows how easy it is to make phone calls, interact with visual voicemail, listen to music, and more.
CarPlay is a revolution in in-car entertainment. While many of the features have been available for some time on other cars, the genuine integration with your smartphone and capabilities that have been added make it well worth considering if you’re an Apple iPhone user who spends a great deal of time in your car.
If you’re shopping for a new car – ask the dealer – is CarPlay available? and if no – will it be available via a firmware upgrade in the future?
Pioneer this week released its CarPlay firmware update, making it the first aftermarket receiver manufacturer to offer CarPlay to consumers. Among Pioneer's U.S. models, CarPlay is available for the $1400 AVIC-8000NEX, the $1200 AVIC-7000NEX, the $900 AVIC-6000NEX, the $750 AVIC-5000NEX and the $700 AVH-4000NEX. CarPlay is also compatible with Pioneer's new $600 smartphone receiver, AppRadio 4. Consumers can generally find Pioneer's units at significant discounts from list price from a variety of retailers.