Pioneer exec talks CarPlay and what it’s like to work with Apple

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Since Apple announced CarPlay last month, the most common question has been about aftermarket products. Most folks don’t have the money to just go out and buy a brand new car, so they want to know when they’ll be able to install the system in their current vehicle.

Initially, the prognoses didn’t look very good, but Apple confirmed last week that both Alpine and Pioneer are working on aftermarket CarPlay solutions to be released this year. And recently, MacRumors sat down with Pioneer’s Ted Cardenas to talk about the project…

Hyundai CarPlay (2015 Sonata)

Cardenas, who is the marketing vice president for Pioneer’s car electronics division, tells the site that they weren’t surprised when Apple announced CarPlay at WWDC last year. Apparently, it had signaled before the event that it would be making changes to in-car connectivity.

According to Cardenas, development picked up in earnest in July of last year, with Apple putting together a dedicated team to help car manufacturers and aftermarket electronics companies build out their CarPlay support. Unsurprisingly, Apple took a fairly hands-on role in the process, sharing specifications and other information to assist Pioneer with its work.

As we learned last week, Pioneer will be rolling out an update to its NEX line this summer to enable CarPlay support. The head units are a bit pricey, starting at $700 and going up to $1400, but the company says that it would like to bring the entry-level cost down in future products.

In addressing the entry cost for aftermarket CarPlay support, Cardenas acknowledges that the current $700-$1400 range for Pioneer’s NEX series is higher than many consumers would like to see. But CarPlay requires robust technology, and the multi-core processors, significant RAM and onboard storage, and touchscreens needed in NEX systems for the feature all contribute to driving costs up. 

The entire article, which you can find here, is worth reading. But essentially it boils down to both Apple and Pioneer have a lot riding on their CarPlay products, so they want them to be fast, easy-to-use and reliable—a tall order for companies venturing outside of their comfort zones.

For those who missed it, Apple announced CarPlay (also known as iOS in the Car) in March at the Geneva Motor Show. The system utilizes a large touchscreen and Siri to make iPhone operation safer while driving, and several auto-makers have pledged to support it in future vehicles.