Video Walkthrough of Apple CarPlay on Pioneer Receiver Shows Siri, Phone, Maps, and More
Last week, Pioneer announced that it became the first company to offer support for Apple's CarPlay vehicle integration feature in five of its 2014 NEX in-dash multimedia receivers through a firmware update. Now, Josh Carr of technology repair firm Fix Denver (via TUAW) has put together a four-part video walkthrough of downloading, installing and using CarPlay on Pioneer's $700 AVH-4000NEX receiver, giving an overview of various apps and features.
After the 200 MB firmware update is downloaded from Pioneer's website, the user is required to create a bootable USB drive for the update which can be done through Disk Utility on OS X. From there, users plug the USB drive into the powered-on receiver and scroll to the device's settings to initiate the firmware update. Carr notes that the vehicle containing the deck must be on during the process with its emergency brake enabled. CarPlay then pops up on the receiver's home screen as an option, and boots into its own interface once selected.
Carr demonstrates a variety of different apps on CarPlay including Phone, Music, Spotify and Apple Maps along with how Siri integrates itself into the interface. Like on the iPhone, the Phone app contains options for Favorites, Recents, Contacts, Keypad and Visual Voicemail and uses Siri to tell the driver who is calling. The Music app contains options for iTunes Radio, Genius playlists, Artists and Now Playing, as Siri can also play a song when requested.
Meanwhile, launching the Messages app allows users to compose a message and send it to a specific contact through Siri. Incoming messages can also be read back to the user, and can also be replied to. When showing the Spotify app, Carr notes that there is no way to search for songs and that its interface is generally buggy and unresponsive at this time. Apple Maps and its GPS directions appears to be as responsive as the iOS app, and also allows for routes to be read back to the user.
Early reviews of CarPlay from Consumer Reports and Australian technology EFTM gave the system positive reviews, saying that it was easy and safe to use because of exceptional Siri integration. Aside from the $700 AVH-4000NEX, Pioneer is also bringing CarPlay support to the $1400 AVIC-8000NEX, the $1200 AVIC-7000NEX, the $900 AVIC-6000NEX, and the $750 AVIC-5000NEX. CarPlay is also compatible with Pioneer's new $600 AppRadio 4 smartphone receiver.
CarPlay for supported Pioneer NEX in-dash systems is enabled through a free firmware update available on the manufacturer's website. The interface requires an iPhone 5 or later along with iOS 7.1 or newer.