Apple CarPlay review shows what the new in-car infotainment system is all about

Back in March, Apple finally demo'd its widely-rumored CarPlay infotainment system for... well, cars! Months have passed, but so far only a few 2014 models from the likes of BMW, Ford, and Mercedes offer support for it. Unfortunately, for the majority of the population, a brand new car is out of reach. Thankfully, CarPlay will also be available through third-party infotainment system suppliers, like Pioneer, who promised to push firmware upgrades to select existing models with CarPlay baked in. An Australian car blog finally received the update for theirs (AVH-X8650BT) today, and wasted no time to publish a review.

As mentioned, CarPlay isn't available on older models, but Australian EFTM had no problems fitting said existing Pioneer system into their 2010 Mazda 2. In other words, CarPlay won't be out of reach, and will be available for the more adventurous among us, so long as they're willing to retrofit and important controls aren't depending on their existing system (e.g. AC controls).

If you haven't come across Apple's infotainment software yet, you'll be delighted to hear that the interface is familiar and, for the most part, identical to what you have with iOS 8. One of the most valuable features of CarPlay is Apple Maps -- a full in-car navigation system with some extras on top. CarPlay can also perform calls (through your iPhone), and you call out the name of the contact you want to get to. Incoming messages are similarly hands-free as they're read out to you (and you can answer with voice commands) -- the idea being that you need your eyes on the road (preferably) at all times.

Pioneer models that will get the firmware upgrade include the AVIC-F60DAB, AVIC-F960DAB and AVH-X8650BT. New units of those same dashes will come pre-loaded with the CarPlay update starting December. For the full review, go to the source. 

source: EFTM via BGR; images: EFTM



1. dorianb

Posts: 617; Member since: Oct 24, 2012

Seemed like a good idea until you said navigation was dependent upon Apple Maps. :beating dead horse:

5. AlikMalix unregistered

What's wring with Apple maps? They worked better than google in central California since day one. Just like bending ip6+, this has been blown spit of proportion when Apple maps was launched. Today Google maps are not the best. I can use google maps too, and that still makes mistakes like routing thru the parking lot instead of a road next to it, or directing you to the further store instead of the closer one. With siri I can ask for closest Home Depot or all homedepots in area. With Google maps it only gives you the one it thinks is closest.

7. Antimio

Posts: 313; Member since: Nov 11, 2013

I use it more than you, and trust me, IT NEVER FAILS DELIVERING.

8. AlikMalix unregistered

Google maps or Apple maps?

9. jsdechavez

Posts: 818; Member since: Jul 20, 2012

It's either Here Maps or maybe Google maps for me.

10. jack123

Posts: 278; Member since: Jan 07, 2013

Actually, it needs more improvement Ex: I tried to paste the address on apple maps, it didn't recognize direction at all( I mean E,W) and it lead me to a different direction. Problem solved, just downloaded google maps.

14. MIG31_FoxHound

Posts: 16; Member since: Sep 18, 2014

Im sure u have not used google maps ever. Dude check google maps

2. XperiaFanZone

Posts: 2281; Member since: Sep 21, 2012

I hope these systems are easy to replace.

3. Scott93274

Posts: 6043; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

So it does everything that last year's Moto X already did?

4. AlikMalix unregistered

Moto X had android in car alternative? With sport from aftermarket manufacturers and hundreds of cars jumping on board? When u make a general statement like that. What exactly do u mean?

11. Scott93274

Posts: 6043; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

Nope, hands free voice controls that allow you to call, send text or have texts read to you, or have the phone navigate you to a location all without touching the phone. You don't even need some expensive in dash hardware. It was all built into the phone to begin with.

12. AlikMalix unregistered

This is an article about in-car infotainment overlay called CarPlay - it's more than just "Ok Google" feature... There was something called iOS in the car (Siri Eyes Free mode) that was already implemented in cars in 2013 models - it wasn't exactly CarPlay MotoX had "Ok Google" for a year - everything else cuts into Google Voice commands. If you want to go that route: Apple had Siri Voice Commands for years now as an App, and OS integrated Siri in 2011, and had Voice Commands (Non Siri) before 2009 - Android was still in 1.x version back then. Look, I was really envious of "Ok Google" always listening feature on MotoX, but after what's written on the article and you say it does everything that last year's MotoX already did - is absolutely not the same thing. What you're refering to is the "Hey Siri" always listening featuere introduced theis year, And I use it so much now, and I like how I dont have to wait for "Bleep" to give command "Hey Siri text my wife, tell her I'll be home at 7" all in one sentence... "hey google" bleep " text my wife" bleep "wife is not in your contacts" bleep "hey google" bleep "text Mary" bleep " I'll be home at 7"

6. fjftokyo

Posts: 65; Member since: Jun 06, 2013

Or you could buy a used/new 4g ipad mini and install a custom head unit, you'll be able to use Google maps, Apple maps, listen to music on the ipad or via Spotify, Pandora, etc. for a fraction of what this Apple carplay will cost.

13. AlikMalix unregistered

I actually thought about doing that - my iPad 3 is a 4G LTE and Wifi Ready (AT&T) but that was before the CarPlay option. With iPad interface in the car it's a standalone system that will require it's own user - uploading music separately, updating contacts and apple maps locations separately. With CarPlay - you see whats on your phone - as I use that primarily, so if my contacts changed or added - they're on car play, and etc. Kinda less hassle that way - I dont like constant fiddeling, maintaining, and updating/transferring/moving personal content - thats why I choose Apple in the first place. So CarPlay is a better experience....

15. MIG31_FoxHound

Posts: 16; Member since: Sep 18, 2014

good idea

16. MIG31_FoxHound

Posts: 16; Member since: Sep 18, 2014

Apple please don't dictate what customer should use????!!!!! We live in free world. Mine better ditch apple

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