Pioneer Could Radically Reinvent Car Audio With Their New AppRadio [Breaking]

Pioneer Could Radically Reinvent Car Audio With Their New AppRadio [Breaking]

SAN FRANCISCO — We’ve just had a hands-on taste of what might be the future of car audio at an intimate press event in downtown San Francisco — and we think they’re on to something big.

At a secretive, intimate press event in downtown San Francisco, Pioneer showed off their new AppRadio, an aftermarket car audio head unit equipped with a capacitive touch screen that interfaces with the iPhone 4 or 4G iPod, and actually becomes the interface. The idea is that you’ll shove the iPhone or iPod in a glove compartment, and then engage in hands-free calling, play around with tracks — and even view access all the functions and selected apps like Pandora and MotionX GPS Drive — through the AppRadio, without having to touch your iDevice.

Right now, AppRadio is only compatible with the iPod controls, Google Maps and four third-party apps (besides Pandora and MotionX, it also works with Rdio — similar to Pandora in concept — and Inrix, the hugely popular, free real-time traffic app. But since the device is actually controlled through an app that sits on your iPhone/iPod, all that’s required for additional apps to become compatible is for their devs to release an update of the app that includes Pioneers AppRadio API.

Pioneer also seems to have paid serious attention to the issue of road safety. Ted Cardenas, Pioneer’s director of marketing and captain of the presser, harped on that fact throughout the presser, saying the idea was to “launch the apps and then really put the phone away.”  In fact, once connected, the iPhone/iPod’s screen is locked out unless the car’s parking brake is engaged.

Pioneer said the device will hit the market in late June, at under $500; though they were pretty noncommittal about who’s going to sell them. It’s also not really compatible right now with anything but the iPhone 4 and 4G iPod; it won’t play with the iPad or Android devices — though Cardenas hinted strongly that Android compatibility is coming.

And yes, we carved out a little hands-on time with the unit — check back tomorrow for the juicy first-impression details.

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  • cheesy11

    now this is awesome, just got me wondering why wasnt thisdone before?

  • Derek Martin

    I don’t know about you, but I want to be able to keep my phone in my pocket.

    All I want is a car stereo that can receive audio via AirPlay and/or Bluetooth. 

    It should also be guaranteed to receive easy-to-install firmware updates for at least 5 years, to keep the AirPlay & Bluetooth specs current. Yes, 5 years. People don’t replace/upgrade car stereos very often.

  • Brandon Dillon

    Why/how no iPad support?

  • Rsantana

    Why the japanese keep doing car stereo units with only 10 character screens in the middle of the 21th century?
    Someone please tell this people that the iPod is ten years old now. This industry became self hypnotized waiting for their lousy 7 segments screens to scroll a Bach cantata’s title…

  • Joshua Christian Castro

    No doubt! Broke a few screens because it was on my lap and fell out when I got up :(

  • Jason Tremain

    I have the Pioneer AVH-P4300DVD and it already does the AppRadio function. I’ve played with it using Pandora and iheartRadio app. It would be nice if it was able to spit out the video from things such as Hulu Plus or YouTube though. I’m just not seeing how this is new from what’s already out there.

  • Spinner

    China are already ahead with this… i saw a car stereo with iphone connectivity with touch screen, where you can scroll for songs, play video from your iphone, receive call via blutooth and even play TV and DVD. And it is cheap… just about US$300

  • Mike Rathjen

    The quality of bluetooth audio isn’t great. Hopefully AirPlay is supported.

    OTOH, I haven’t heard the audio quality from AirPlay, so I have no idea if its any better.

  • Mike Rathjen

    Connecting it to a cable in the glove box is a hassle. I’d prefer a dock or even better a slot to stick the phone in like a cartridge. Dock/slot would need adaptability to support future iPhones.

  • CRodBlogs

    This has huge potential. I’m willing to spend $500 for something that will keep me from touching my phone while driving. And if it looks as fancy as this AppRadio promises to look like, that’s a bonus. I’ve been thinking about upgrading the sound system in my car for a while now. I’m glad I haven’t done it yet.

  • John

    jvc nt30hd is supposed to support netflix via iphone

About the author

Eli MilchmanWhen he was eight, Eli Milchman came home from frolicking in the Veld one day and was given an Atari 400. Since then, his fascination with technology has made him an intrepid early adopter of whatever charming new contraption crosses his path — which explains why he's Cult of Mac's test editor-at-large. He calls San Francisco home, where he works as a journalist and photographer. Eli has contributed to the pages of Wired.com and BIKE Magazine, among others. Hang with him on Twitter.

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