Apple CarPlay (Honda, Music 001)

CarPlay, Apple’s in-car system formerly known as iOS in the Car, launched last month requiring an iPhone running iOS 7.1 and one of the compatible 2014 cars from Mercedes-Benz, Ferrari and Volvo. A bunch of other car vendors have promised to bring support for CarPlay to their vehicles throughout 2014, but not everyone is rich enough to buy a brand new car just to enjoy CarPlay.

Pioneer Electronics is reportedly considering rolling out CarPlay aftermarket kits for older vehicles and Mercedes-Benz has similar plans of its own. And now, car electronics manufacturer Alpine is said to offer CarPlay aftermarket kits in the United States and Europe this Fall, with a cost of around $500 to $700…

As noted by Japanese business paper Nikkei (via MacRumors), Alpine’s standalone console plays nice with CarPlay and can be installed in any – I repeat, any – vehicle.

While a slew of carmakers will soon start offering vehicles that come standard with a CarPlay interface built in, the Japanese company’s device is to be the first aftermarket product compatible with the system. It will first be available in the U.S. and Europe and likely cost around $500 to $700.

The kit with a seven-inch touchscreen will go on sale in Japan as soon as 2015.

It will connect to an iPhone 5/5c/5s using the Lightning cable and offer the same features as those available in vehicles supporting CarPlay out-of-the-box, including Apple Maps, Siri, navigation and more.

MacRumors got in touch with another in-dash system maker, Clarion, which confirmed it’s been working with Apple “from the start” on adding support for CarPlay to both its Smart Access in-car infotainment system and OEM products “at some point in the future.”

We have heard from developers that event CarPlay is fairly easy to integrate into third-party apps, but car manufacturers were quick to underscore that bringing CarPlay compatibility to older vehicles is not as trivial as it sounds.

Ferrari, for example, has ruled out CarPlay aftermarket kits together as the feature “is available only on new range cars and cannot be installed on older ones.”

The truth of the situation remains murky as Volvo at the same time hinted at CarPlay aftermarket solution though cautioned the initiative would face “major roadblocks” dealing with both technical and usability issues.

Learn more about CarPlay in iDB’s archive and over at Apple’s website.