It's finally here! What Apple fans have been waiting for with bated breath. No, we are not talking about the new Appie iWatch here, what we are talking about, is Apple’s new CarPlay in car infotainment operating system! Although we haven't really had the chance to explore one of the factory fitted systems expected in the likes of upcoming Mercedes Benz, Jaguar, Hyundai and a whole host of other cars yet, this, the F970 Dual Din infotainment system by Pioneer is supposed to be just as good. So lets answer some of the questions we have been asked about Apple’s new CarPlay.
How easy is it to use?
Plug and play. All you need is your iPhone’s USB cable and you are good to go. That said you do need to have an iPhone 5 or higher to use it and it does need to have the latest firmware update to sync seamlessly with Pioneer’s hardware.
What does the Apple CarPlay interface look like?
Essentially it looks just like the iOS in the iPhone or iPad does. Clean, simple and of course, minimalistic. The large icons too help in making everything easy to read and use. In fact, it reminds us strongly of Apple’s original OS design that one would get in the likes of the original iPhone and iPhone 3G
What features does Apple CarPlay have?
Well as of now, all you can only really use it for is to stream your music from the iPhone or iPod or podcasts and of course, call people using your phone’s cellular networks. What we love though is the fact that CarPlay reads out your messages for you through Siri and that it mirrors your phone book with all your favourite settings intact.
What apps does CarPlay support?
As we mentioned earlier, CarPlay as of today only supports music streaming from the generic iPod music player and basic cellular calling. Internationally it also supports maps and third party music apps like Spotify and iHeartRadio. Strangely, in India, CarPlay still does not support any maps. That said, this particular Pioneer F970BT does have an inbuilt maps and navigation that works really well indeed.
What will CarPlay support in the future?
The possibilities are endless. We guess video streaming will be one of the first things that they try to integrate along with other automotive based apps like lap timers or accelerometers. We would also like car play to give us notifications for social media apps like twitter and of course Email support in the future. It is only a matter of time before we also see all the important car functions like the speedometer console being an extension of Apple’s CarPlay package which might lead to customizable dials and color options.
Coming to the hardware that supports CarPlay, the top of the line Pioneer AVIC-F970BT. As with the OS itself, the player too gets a very minimalistic and simple look which does look quite cool as it ties up well with almost any dashboard design. We also think that the touchscreen on the F970BT is one of the most tactile and high quality ones that we have used recently in an aftermarket application. That said, there is of course one big negative. Priced at Rs 40,000, the Pioneer AVIC-F970BT is very expensive. That said, with inbuilt maps and CarPlay, it might just appeal to someone who is looking to have a high end aftermarket install in their car.
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