Pioneer has become the first aftermarket audio maker to support Apple CarPlay. The company recently released a firmware update for five of its NEX in-dash receivers in addition to launching a brand new offering at an attractive price.
Current owners of the AVIC-8000NEX ($1,400), AVIC-7000NEX ($1,200), AVIC-6000NEX ($900), AVIC-5000NEX ($750) and AVIC4000NEX ($700) can download and install the new firmware to enable CarPlay directly from Pioneer’s website. All that’s needed is a USB flash drive (which must be connected to USB port 1 on the head unit) to run the update.
Those not wanting to run the risk of messing something up can optionally choose to have the update professionally installed at any authorized Pioneer dealer.
The new head unit, model AppRadio 4 (SPH-DA120, $600) comes with the update pre-installed. This unit features a large 6.2-inch capacitive touchscreen and supports both CarPlay and MirrorLink, meaning it’ll work with iOS devices as well as phones from Samsung, Nokia and others.
Most expected Alpine to be the first to market with an aftermarket CarPlay solution following rumors on the matter this past April.
Apple unveiled CarPlay at the Geneva Motor Show in March. The Cupertino-based company’s connected car strategy aims to allow users to perform their favorite iPhone functions – making calls, accessing contacts, using maps, listening to music and more – with minimized distraction.
Apple is partnering with dozens of automakers on the initiative including Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo, just to name a few.