I'll be honest. I was hoping for a bevy of wireless CarPlay hardware at CES 2016. But so far, all aftermarket manufacturers have disappointed.
Pioneer Electronics announced third-generation NEX head units at the event but none of the five devices offer wireless CarPlay connectivity. There is no news coming from automakers either regarding this feature.
So, is there still hope we will see anything in this regard at CES 2016?
Apple has introduced wireless CarPlay as a feature in iOS 9 after a long waiting period. Currently, CarPlay works via a USB cable only from your iPhone to your car's dashboard. But iOS 9 is wireless CarPlay ready and according to Apple, the hardware to support it isn't quite there yet.
CES annually brings the latest and greatest in-car technology to the forefront and this year's event was expected to include at least concept info regarding wireless CarPlay integration. With Pioneer announcing NEX devices that are missing a wireless chip (supposedly), the most likely contender to integrate the technology has disappointed.
JVC Kenwood's biggest announcement from CES 2016 is a digital cockpit featuring an all-in-one Head Up Display (HUD) system inside a McLaren Automotive 675LT supercar. The system has many safety and tech features. You can read about it here.
Alpine Electronics is showcasing In-Dash Restyle Systems for Trucks and SUVs at the event. The 2016 restyle systems come in 7- to 10-inch screen sizes and differ from traditional double-DIN head units. The restyle hardware tries to retain an OEM setup and look in your vehicle as much as possible. These systems are hence, vehicle specific.
The Alpine hardware kits even offer CarPlay, but it's not wireless. The system does, however, integrate more closely with CarPlay by offering hardware buttons to access certain apps. For example, the navigation button on the dashboard launches Apple Maps in CarPlay without having to tap on the capacitive touchscreen.
So, the frontrunners in aftermarket head units have sidestepped on wireless CarPlay at this time. I'm sure some, if not all of them, are working on wireless CarPlay solutions in the aftermarket, but it isn't time to announce these upcoming technologies yet.
We will have to wait a little longer to get anything on wireless CarPlay. It is probably a safer bet at this time to put your money on automakers to offer the functionality in their new cars before the aftermarket takes the leap.