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Transportation Apple

How Apple's CarPlay Could Shore Up the Car Stereo Industry 194

Posted by Soulskill
from the but-i-like-having-63-tiny-buttons-to-press-while-driving dept.
Velcroman1 writes: "Car stereo salesmen and installers around the country are hoping Apple's CarPlay in-car infotainment system will have a big presence in the aftermarket car stereo industry. The Nikkei Asian Review reports that Alpine is making car stereo head units for between $500 – $700 that will run the iOS-like system Apple unveiled last month, and Macrumors added Clarion to the list of CarPlay supporters. Pioneer is also getting into the game, with support said to be coming to existing car stereo models in its NEX line ($700 – $1400) via firmware update, according to Twice. Given Apple's wildly supportive fan base, its likely that a lot of aftermarket CarPlay units are about to fly off stereo shop shelves. Indeed, CarPlay coming to aftermarket stereo units could bring back what Apple indirectly stole from the industry going back as far as 2006."
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How Apple's CarPlay Could Shore Up the Car Stereo Industry

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  • by StripedCow (776465)

    I wouldn't trust Apple. When this becomes successful, before you know it, they will force other manufacturers out of the market. Look at how they are controlling the app-store, and forcing developers to not compete with Apple's products.

  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Tuesday April 15, 2014 @06:29PM (#46762271)

    I don't know if CarPlay will gain any traction. Since Apple has no control over quality of implementation, we'll see some really awful interfaces on top of CarPlay...

    But one great aspect of CarPlay has already done something I thought would not happen for a while - breaking the car manufactures monopoly on in-car mapping. Car makers have been constantly pushing very over-priced terrible in-car GPS systems for a while, and CarPlay at least brings a reasonable and cheap mapping system into cars without having to replace the whole stereo system and/or shoe-horn in a screen. I could see many people adopting a CarPlay stereo just for that.

    One thing I really wish would happen would be to have the car industry be also mandated to provide third-party access to all of the screens that will be mandated in cars soon because of the back-up cameras... that could lead to a real renaissance in what smart-phones can do for you in-car.

    • by lgw (121541)

      Car makers have been constantly pushing very over-priced terrible in-car GPS systems for a while,

      I'll have you know my car has a very over-priced mediocre in-car GPS system! Actually, its flaw is no good interface to set a destination address (voice recognition and arbitrary proper nouns is just a bad combination in general). I really want a way to attach a keyboard, or to pull an address from my phone contacts list in some sane and reliable way.

      One thing I really wish would happen would be to have the car industry be also mandated to provide third-party access to all of the screens that will be mandated in cars soon because of the back-up cameras... that could lead to a real renaissance in what smart-phones can do for you in-car.

      There's real potential there, but I want it to work both ways: the car should accept any screen though some standard interface (2-way HDMI maybe?). The buil

    • This won't stop the car industry.
      I can't easily replace the navigation system in my car, because it controls the air-con.
      The whole system is integrated in to the dash, the steering wheel controls, the trip computer and air conditioning.

      There are aftermarket options on ebay, but the risk it won't work is high - The car is made in Japan with several options for air con (single/dual zone) and is visibly identical to other models made in USA which may or may not be wired the same. Added to the fact the model na

      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 15, 2014 @07:46PM (#46762773)

        I can't easily replace the navigation system in my car, because it controls the air-con.
        The whole system is integrated in to the dash, the steering wheel controls, the trip computer and air conditioning.

        This article is a load of toss. The problem is right here. Even before apple/android devices were around, automakers did their best to frustrate after-market installers by using odd dash shapes, surrounds, and separate control panels. With the advent of Nav and touchscreen controls(and the various iDrive systems on some makes), the problem is swiftly getting worse.

        Nearly all new Ford, Chrysler, and GM products have some sort of touchscreen "radio" that also contains the environmental controls, adjustable seat settings, Nav (if equipped), and various other things that no longer have separate dash controls. Foreign makes have been going this way for several years in higher end vehicles. The only way to get a radio that can be removed without affecting other equipment is to buy a base, fleet-trim vehicle that doesn't have any other options to begin with.

        CarPlay is too late; it is no longer possible to install aftermarket head units in more than 90% of new cars on the market.

        • by suutar (1860506)
          indeed, and this will be one of the criteria I use for my next car. If I can't swap out the stereo, forget it. I realize I'm in the minority with that, and at some point there may be no new models with swappable stereos. At which point I fall back to a used older model that I can maintain :)
    • by mjwx (966435)

      Since Apple has no control over quality of implementation

      But one great aspect of CarPlay has already done something I thought would not happen for a while - breaking the car manufactures monopoly on in-car mapping.

      These two points contradict each other.

      If Apple has no control over implementation, then implementation is till reliant on the good will of the car manufacturers to put it into _THEIR_ in car entertainment systems.

      I don't know if CarPlay will gain any traction.

      It wont, precisely because the manufacturers don't want to give up their monopoly.

      • The point you're missing about maps is that maps in car play is fed via Apple maps. Which updates more frequently than maps for car systems.

        Car manufacturers don't mind giving up control over things like the entertainment system provided it works better than what they can do. A lot of makers are signed up for it. From BMW to Hyundai to ford and GM.

        How it'll do in the future... No one knows.

      • How much do I pay for Maps updates with Apple? 0.

        How much do you pay for mapping updates in most cars? LOTS AND LOTS (sometimes over $1k!)

        Not to mention Apple maps can be fed locations from any application, whereas the car nav can only get input through whatever torturous interface the car make has put in place.

    • by narcc (412956)

      breaking the car manufactures monopoly on in-car mapping.

      WTF are you talking about?

    • all of the screens that will be mandated in cars soon because of the back-up cameras...

      Yeah I never really understood this. I'm too lazy to look up statistics for people killed from cars backing up, but it can't be higher than those killed from "inattentive driving". What they really need to mandate is fucking bluetooth speakerphones. It would be a lot cheaper than a screen and save more lives.

    • by dk20 (914954)
      "breaking the car manufactures monopoly on in-car mapping..."

      Will this be similar to how apple "broke the monopoly on ebooks" http://online.wsj.com/news/art... [wsj.com]
      Or how they "Broke the monopoly on hiring". http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/... [justice.gov]

      Ever heard of getting a third party GPS for like $99 at costco with lifetime maps? When it gets old i just throw it out and get a newer/faster/whatever one.
      Far cheaper then getting the fancy in-dash model and not being able to replace it.

      "One thing I really wis
      • Will this be similar to how apple "broke the monopoly on ebooks" http://online.wsj.com/news/art [wsj.com]...

        Possibly, Apple tried to save us from an Amazon monopoly and failed.

        Ever heard of getting a third party GPS for like $99 at costco with lifetime maps?

        Yes, and they suck compared to a smartphone because they aren't integrated with anything. I have some left over from the Old Days.

        Really, you think that is fair? Would it work the other way as in i think apple should be mandated

        Get the stick out of your ass man

        • by Microlith (54737)

          Apple tried to save us from an Amazon monopoly and failed.

          Hahaha! No they didn't. They tried to insulate themselves and their profits from having to compete with Amazon. It had nothing to do with "saving us" at all. Amazing how quickly fanboys will rewrite history for the sake of their favorite corporation, no matter how evil they're shown to be.

    • by swb (14022)

      I think the whole point of CarPlay is that it's an external display/mirroring solution that takes over the entire in-car display. Knowing Apple, a term of licensing is probably not allowing any overlay or alteration of the display. The only thing allowed is probably switching away from CarPlay completely to show in-car data like the backup camera or car-specific info.

      What hasn't been talked about is whether OEM integration with CarPlay to control OEM-specific features like HVAC, audio settings (EQ/fader)

    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      Some manufacturers, like Toyota and Subaru, have been offering MirrorLink capability for a few years. It lets you mirror your phone screen to the in-dash screen, complete with touch control, and you can use any navigation app you like.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 15, 2014 @06:33PM (#46762309)

    I recently bought a new car with the USB dongle in the glove cabinet to hook stuff directly to the car stereo. (a 2000 bucks option)

    They failed to mention it only supports apple products.

    Its time that a ISO standard arrives for cars so i can hook any device to it that supports the standard.

    • by Skater (41976)

      They failed to mention it only supports apple products.

      Are you sure? Android phones now use something called "MTP", which most devices don't seem to support (neither of our car stereos do, one is a factory Honda, the other is a Pioneer; similarly, my Macbook Pro *still* can't connect to my S3, a year and a half after I bought the phone). Did you try a standard USB drive? I bet it'll work.

      • by MikeMo (521697)
        This thing is much more than a connection. With CarPlay, the phone essentially takes over the display on your car. Makes it display the phone icons and such. Through a proprietary protocol, btw.
    • by Petersko (564140)

      My 2009 Santa Fe might have a crummy monochromatic display and obtuse choices for button functions, but it reads MP3 files off standard USB sticks, nests the folders properly, and doesn't accuse me of DRM violations. I'm set.

    • 3rd party GPS is gimped due to a lack of wheel rotation data from the car which OEM GPS get's "for free". This wheel rotation data helps update direction, speed and position far more frequently than GPS can. If CarPlay gets access to the car's telemetry feeds to pickup wheels rotation data, it will make a huge difference in accuracy. From there on out OEM is a dead. For sure you will be stuck in a walled garden though... renting your map data at $3 a month. But that's better than an over priced, 3 years

      • To me, phone GPS is plenty good enough for car use (either Google or Apple). I've been using a car mount to hold my phone for years and have never had issues with it reporting where I was accurately, outside of one odd anomaly somewhere in the middle of Utah where for about thirty miles GPS assured me I was 500 feet off the side of the road.

        • I installed my own garmin gps in my car about 10 yrs ago when I bought the car, new. I did a very custom install and people are usually impressed by it. its also quite hidden, which is why its not been taken OUT of my car in 10 yrs.

          but now, 10 yrs later, the maps are very out of date for many areas I drive in (bay area). I'm too cheap to buy an update and so I use my android phone. it sits in a center cup holder area, it uses cellphone locations and gps and always stays current, for free.

          I don't love go

      • by jrumney (197329)

        3rd party GPS is gimped due to a lack of wheel rotation data from the car which OEM GPS get's "for free".

        Phones have accelerometers, gyros and in some cases barometers that can adequately make up for the lack of wheel rotation data to cover gaps in GPS coverage. A bigger problem is the size and position of the GPS antenna, especially when the windows have metallic coatings.

    • I recently spent $35,000 on a peripheral for my phone, but I forgot to check if the peripheral worked with my phone.

      Can someone write a law that says that all peripherals have to work with my phone?

      Thank you very much.

      Signed, ignorant consumer.

    • If you just bought a new car and paid $2000 for an upgraded stereo, why aren't you using the Bluetooth connectivity that it doubtless comes with, rather than clumsy dongles that are apparently proprietary?

    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      There is a standard, it's called MirrorLink. Even Apple supports it.

  • If Apple infotainment is great why don't we see it in the airplanes. We don't see it because it is damn too expensive. I do respect Apple's commercial acumen, quality, design and innovations, but I don't own any of the apple's products nor am I planning to, and I have tried..... No offense to Mac owners and I have heard a lot about their quality and durability. When someone is buying and Iphone, it is easy to bury equipment depreciation to service provider fee. When someone will buy a car in the nearest
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Like this? Where it's free? Across a whole airline?

      http://www.cultofmac.com/26985... [cultofmac.com]

    • If Apple infotainment is great why don't we see it in the airplanes.

      How exactly would this work? You'd be able to airplay GPS to the screen in front of you for a turn by turn play?

      While it would be great if all cars used some sort of standard system, for now I'm happy they're using any kind of standard.

      In a few years time, either Android phones will start having an iPhone compatibility mode, or a standard will emerge.

      (Frankly I don't know which will happen since both have happened in the past)

    • You know those USB ports in the back of some airlines seats? You can use them to stream video from an iPad [gizmodo.com].

      That was from 2006... I thought I had read recently where some airline was working on a system where you could get in-flight movies on your iPad.

    • There is no service or fee associated with this feature. It's not something you subscribe to, any more than you subscribe to Windows or your Sony alarm clock. This product is simply an app that sits on top of Blackberry's QNX operating system that drives a lot of the high-end car stereos, allowing the stereo to interface more easily with iOS products. Nothing more. You're not even locked into using it, since you can exit out to the car manufacturer's QNX interface.

      Moreover, suggesting we'd see it in airplan

  • Car stereo salesmen and installers around the country are hoping Apple's CarPlay in-car infotainment system will have a big presence in the aftermarket car stereo industry.

    Well, it could have, but after investing in a head unit with the expensive licensed connector for my iPod, then finding when my out-of-warranty iPod died that my new one would not work with the very expensive head unit any more because they changed the connector ... well.

    As the saying goes: "Screw me once, shame on me, screw me twice, Fuck you Apple - NEVER AGAIN!!"

  • I'm pretty sure I've seen Android frontends for a while now.
  • by PPH (736903) on Tuesday April 15, 2014 @07:05PM (#46762517)

    After listening to the kids for a while, all she says is, "Don't make me pull over and come back there!"

  • by plebeian (910665) on Tuesday April 15, 2014 @07:06PM (#46762525)
    What I really want is someone to design a micro USB car dock and app so that I can plug my android phone in and have it replace the Stereo and GPS, charge, and allow me to display performance data (a la Torque) at the same time. All I really need mounted in the dash is an AMP and speakers. P.S. make it compatible with tablets as well..
    • by mishehu (712452)
      I've done that one myself... bluetooth supporting head unit + android tablet. The only thing I've got left to do (when I have time) is to cut up a piece of polycarbonite to mount it on the center console in place of the ash tray and broken drawer on my car.
    • by mythosaz (572040)

      There are plenty of Android head units available now...

    • by Scowler (667000) on Tuesday April 15, 2014 @07:56PM (#46762847)
      How is this better than vanilla Bluetooth Audio?
      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        It's more reliable. Bluetooth Audio is miserably finicky. The only thing that ever worked right with my JVC was AT&T Fuze. With a couple different Android devices now including the Nexus 4 I get occasional skips. I used to use an Xperia Play, that skipped a lot. Flawless using the headphone cable in my truck instead.

        I'm going to try adding bluetooth to my car anyway, switching into the line inputs from the changer with an audio signal relay, and using an ultra-cheap receiver. but i'm also going to have

        • by Hadlock (143607)

          That's pretty much the exact opposite experience I've had. I've never had an issue with BT audio, even once. Range seems to top out at about 30 ft and for music listening, is perfect. I've run in to audio lag (20-40ms) issues when streaming audio to bottom tier $20 adapters but it's completely replaced physical audio cables in my house. The sounds system in the living room and bedroom both use it exclusively and I just stream to either/or from my phone as the "head unit" and use the speaker system as a dumb

      • by plebeian (910665)
        1. A bright enough display on the phone eats a lot of juice. If you are going to have your phone display on all the time so that you can change music or have a nav display you really need to have it plugged into external power. 2. If you are going to have to plug it in why not run everything over the physical plug. It removes problems introduced by Bluetooth (RF interference, degraded sound quality, extra power drain..etc). 3. It allows people to update their displays as new technology becomes availabl
    • by evilviper (135110)

      All I really need mounted in the dash is an AMP and speakers.

      That's pretty much what ALL cheap car stereos have been doing for the past decade. Except they throw in a clock, USB & SD card slots for MP3s, and usually a radio.

      How does $25 grab you:

      https://www.amazon.com/XO-Visi... [amazon.com]

    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      Already exists, it's called MirrorLink and several manufacturers of cars and after-market head units support it. There is also the proprietary but well hacked Pioneer AppRadio. Plug your phone in and stash it out of the way, the screen is fully mirrored with touch control in the dash and you can even use the car's GPS antenna.

  • All I want from a car unit is a touchscreen + audio. Alas, while most phones can handle external displays, external touchscreens are generally unsupported.

    A car has to last at least a decade. Trying to build in intelligence is futile, and adding 3G/4G is not much better. In a decade, CPU's and software and data transfer standards will hopefully have advanced greatly.

    • by grumling (94709)

      Exactly! Just provide a display and hooks to the steering wheel controls (use something standard like Bluetooth HID profiles and HDMI). No need to come up with your own "solution" that will be obsolete in 3 years, or worse, lock me into a monthly fee.

      The problem continues to be that car manufacturers want to control the whole "experience" no matter what, because they know that their products are remarkably similar to everyone else's products. The stereo/info-tainment system is about the only part of the car

  • An Apple head unit? As in super expensive?

    Jumping the shark?

    First of all, most modern car stereos do much more than play the radio or act as an amplifier for an mp3 player. They also serve as controllers and displays for other computing units in the car. How will the Apple head unit reset the maintenance reminder?

    Further, the head unit is probably the best piece of a stock car audio system. Money would be much better spent upgrading the speakers, or adding an external amp with a subwoofer.

    And anothe
  • and frankly, in-car entertainment is dangerous. like the other poster said, all I want in there is an amp and speakers with a jack for audio input. the stuff is expensive, too tempting to look away from the road, and between Ford and BMW, is a monster. totally ergo inappropriate. put the frickin' screen in the dash where the speedometer is now, and stop the contortions.

    I'd like my 1964 Dodge back. fixable, the controls fall where your hands are, no menus, and no nonsense.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      like the other poster said, all I want in there is an amp and speakers with a jack for audio input

      That's what I put in my truck. You can't listen to optical media in it unless you have a heavy load, because the suspension is too hard. So I have a $20 amplifier with stereo in and four outputs.

      I'd like my 1964 Dodge back. fixable, the controls fall where your hands are, no menus, and no nonsense.

      Yes, if I had perfect foresight instead of excellent hindsight, I'd have kept my 1960 Dodge. It got over 20 mpg on the freeway and it was stupid simple. But I didn't know how to rebuild a brake system then (dirt simple, as it turns out) and so I couldn't afford to keep it.

    • by GrahamCox (741991)
      all I want in there is an amp and speakers with a jack for audio input

      Yep, me too. I have a 1999 Holden (Isuzu) Rodeo V6. It's a low-tech car, no computers or gizmos at all (excluding the engine's ECU). Like an old nail, it's utterly reliable - it has 350,000km on it and it just works, day in, day out. In the Australian climate it's not even going to rust away.

      My one concession to modern in-car electronics was just last weekend upgrading the stock radio (with cassette!) to a new Sony head unit which
  • by zerofoo (262795) on Tuesday April 15, 2014 @08:05PM (#46762923)

    The car electronics companies gave away the market. I was in car audio for years while in college. I sold and installed almost every brand you can stick into a dashboard - that was in the 90s.

    Mobile electronics interfaces are still stuck in the 90s. The mobile industry has completely ignored the user interface advancements of the last 10 years. Take a look at the average aftermarket radio - buttons and dot-matrix LED displays that should have been replaced years ago.

    Don't even get me started about bluetooth in car - absolutely no mobile manufacturer makes a stable bluetooth implementation. They all universally suck.

    The best thing I put into my car was a bracket to hold my smartphone. After trying 5 different headunits, I finally gave up trying to find one that approaches the functionality and usability of my Nexus and iOS devices.

    The mobile electronics companies screwed this up - apple stole nothing from them.

    • by grumling (94709)

      When I was picking options for my last car I decided not to go with the in dash navigation system, simply because I knew I could install a bracket for my phone that did much more than the nav system. If the nav system was $300 more than the "premium" stereo (with line-in) I could have justified it, but it was a whopping $1800 more than the mid-range system, which I'm sure wasn't cheap (it was part of the package). For what basically is a small PC running VXWorks or some such real-time OS and a DVD drive.

    • by Toshito (452851) on Wednesday April 16, 2014 @05:47AM (#46765501)

      Buttons are the way to go for an interface in a car. That and big knobs or switches. Something with a lot of tactile feedback. Just look at an airplane's cockpit.

      A touch interface has no place in a car, much too dangerous to use, and totally useless in winter when it's -30C and you wear gloves. The screen becomes slow as molasses and you can't control it without removing your gloves.

    • This. Why doesn't Apple simply implement a "CarPlay" function on the phones screen so when you get in your car to drive it can switch over. 4-6 big buttons for common apps like Maps, Music, search, or phone, Siri is active so voice commands can be used, BT is turned on so it can interface with the car system. An option to either read texts/email to you (and reply via voice) or a function to quick reply to the sender that I am driving and can't respond right now but will shortly. Heck even add an OBD dong
  • The wife just got a car with touch screen doodad that controls pretty much everything. Talk about device which main purposes seems to be to cause distracted driving. I'll take buttons and knobs any day.

    • by grumling (94709)

      Oh, but buttons and knobs cost money to make, the touch screen is just a few bucks.

      And touch screens are sexy. Touch screens sell cars. Knobs are sooooo 20th century. Your granddad's car had knobs.

  • by Nethemas the Great (909900) on Tuesday April 15, 2014 @10:08PM (#46763713)
    I'm confused. Wasn't the last car capable of a having an after-market head unit installed manufactured a solid 10 years ago? I fail to see the point. The number of such cars is on a rapid decline. For collectors if you're going to buy an ancient car, then wouldn't you be buying it for nostalgia's sake and want the old crappy radio that came with it?
    • I'm confused. Wasn't the last car capable of a having an after-market head unit installed manufactured a solid 10 years ago? I fail to see the point. The number of such cars is on a rapid decline. For collectors if you're going to buy an ancient car, then wouldn't you be buying it for nostalgia's sake and want the old crappy radio that came with it?

      Pretty much, unless you buy a car with just the basic radio. I traded in my 2003 Murano for a new car last summer and it was 10 years old. The A/C controls were built into the Bose radio system. It took an aftermarket company 7 years to release a control panel that would let you swap out the stereo system. Once they did, I was able to replace the crappy Bose with a Kenwood Navigation system without losing any functionality.

      My new car is a 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee and I have the Uconnect 8.4 infotainment

    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      Toyota and Subaru both offer MirrorLink capable head units, even as standard on some models. No real need to replace it when you can replace the entire UI, unless you really need a bigger amp.

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