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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Reduce Glare With A Matte Screen Protector For The AppRadio

The AppRadio has a crisp, glossy screen. However, it becomes hard to see in bright sunlight. When the sun glares through the rear window it's almost impossible to see what's displayed on the screen from the drivers seat. It can be quite annoying. Glossy screens have such reflection issues. One way of solving this problem is using a matte screen protector on the device's screen. So finding one with the right size for the AppRadio is key.

The AppRadio screen is 6.1 inches in size. There are a couple of screen protectors I found on eBay for the AppRadio but are a little pricey at around $15. Getting an iPad screen protector (9.7 inch screen) would be a lot cheaper. It can then be cut to size. But this can be tricky. Cutting a screen protector has to be precise.

 So, I am currently in the process of getting an iPad screen protector (matte/non-glossy) for my AppRadio. I will write an updated post regarding my experience once I have it installed. More soon.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

MIXTRAX Update 1.0.1

My favorite music app for the AppRadio, MIXTRAX, has received a minor upgrade today. The latest version 1.0.1 promises minor fixes and enhancements. The update is now available in the iOS app store. Get updating!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

What Would A NTSB Recommended Nationwide In-Car Cell Phone Ban Mean For AppRadio?

A cell phone ban could change how the AppRadio functions

Recently the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommended a nationwide ban on cell phone use while driving. There are many reasons to believe that using your cell phone while driving can be a distraction. Many states already impose a ban on talking, texting or even handling a cell phone while behind the wheel. The violation comes with fines amounting up to a few hundred dollars.

As we know, the AppRadio sometimes requires access to the connected iPhone/iPod Touch. Most often this is to launch an app. So if the NTSB recommended ban goes in place (it could be a while before this happens), I think Pioneer Electronics will have to change the way the AppRadio functions. I always felt that once the iDevice is connected to the AppRadio it should be put away making all necessary functions accessible from the AppRadio itself. The touch screen of the AppRadio functions very well and the screen is crisp and big. There should be no reason to even look at your phone while driving.

One more thing that would be great and useful would be being able to launch Siri from the AppRadio. Long pressing the home button on the AppRadio would do it (using the stereo's bluetooth connectivity, car's speakers and mic) and you would simply speak the necessary command. This would truly make the whole experience handsfree. Siri will hopefully be able to launch apps in the near future. Wouldn't that be awesome? It can already read back your text messages or play specific songs or playlists from the iPod.

Whether a national ban on cell phone use while driving happens or not I hope the AppRadio functionality changes for the better very soon. I don't want to break any laws while driving. Either way, remember to keep your hands on the wheel at all times while behind it (I hope Pioneer is listening).

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Music Apps On AppRadio Get Ranked

Here's how I'd rank the music apps compatible with AppRadio.

It's all about the mood you're in. Of course you can listen to music by genre but it sounds more cool when you can listen by "mood".

Monday, December 12, 2011

HOW TO: Rearrange Your AppRadio Icons

When you launch the AppRadio app on your iPhone/iPod Touch while it is connected to the AppRadio, you see a minimum of three and maximum of five app icons. You can scroll through all your apps by swiping left or right. By default the first page of icons on the AppRadio has Maps, Photos, Calendar, Contacts and Recommended Apps icons on it. How often do we use these? At least for me, almost never (apart from the Maps app every once in a while).

So if you want your more frequently used apps on this first page which will save you the trouble of swiping through to find them, this is what you should do. Rearrange the apps and it is easy. With your iDevice disconnected from the AppRadio launch the AppRadio app in the iDevice and click on "Settings". Then click on the "Layout" tab followed by "Edit" which can be found in the upper right corner of the screen. This will make all the icons wobble. Then just like you would with the iOS icons on your iDevice just rearrange the apps as you please.

The next time you connect your iDevice to the AppRadio and launch the AppRadio app you will see your favorite apps right away. In the picture above is my first app page layout. As you can see I love MIXTRAX!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Where To Find Low Prices On Pioneer's AppRadio

Even though Pioneer offers a $50 mail-in rebate for AppRadio purchases from an authorized Pioneer dealer until December 31, 2011, it may not be the lowest price on the device. Internet sites like Amazon and eBay have lower prices. I recently found a seller on eBay selling an AppRadio for as low as $270 with free shipping.

Considering it's been around for 6 months now it is quite astonishing to see prices lowered by 35% since the day it was launched. Back in the summer the AppRadio was introduced at $399. I picked mine up from Amazon, that way I got it overnight for $3.99 using Amazon Prime, and saved by not having to pay sales tax. So if you're looking for the lowest prices on the AppRadio check out Amazon or eBay. Make sure to find a brand new piece because buying a used one maybe cheaper but not always the best bet.

Go ahead and treat yourself to a Pioneer AppRadio this holiday season.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Double The Traffic Coverage With Today's INRIX Traffic Update

Update your INRIX Traffic app today with 3.5.1
INRIX, Inc. has pushed a new update to their INRIX Traffic app today. The latest update, 3.5.1 doubles the traffic data coverage. Another interesting feature of this update is the battery-friendly live traffic alerts that will warn the user of incidents affecting traffic flow. The traffic alerts happen in the background and uses "battery-friendly cell tower triangulation" and not the GPS chip. The location services icon stays on in the status bar while the app runs in the background.

The update was pushed today so I haven't tested battery usage with this new feature. I use INRIX Traffic regularly with my AppRadio so I will have more to report in the coming days. I have used this update today and haven't had any issues so far. It's hard to see how battery-usage won't be affected much with this but we'll see. However, with the AppRadio, the iPhone receives power all the time so battery issues won't be noticeable. I can use twice the coverage though. You can get the update by clicking here. Happy updating!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

MIXTRAX: A New AppRadio Compatible App

MIXTRAX is the latest AppRadio compatible app

This is great. Slowly but surely a number of apps have started rolling out in the iOS app store that are compatible with Pioneer Electronics' AppRadio. The latest one comes from Pioneer Corporation themselves and it's called MIXTRAX.

(More pictures after the page break...)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

AUPEO! Update Available. Get Updating.

AUPEO! Personal Radio gets an update v2.41

For those of you not familiar with AUPEO! Personal Radio it is an internet radio for iOS that is compatible with Pioneer's AppRadio. You basically choose a genre and it plays music... it's that simple. But there are moods that you can set which will fine tune the music that's played. A lot more and a really nice looking AppRadio interface.

The app just got an update from it's developers in the iOS App Store. The update adds support for Spanish, Italian and French. It also adds 30 new stations to the catalog. So if you haven't already go get it in the app store. Happy updating!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

UPDATE: DashCommand Data Logging Issue

I've received a response to my email to Palmer Performance Engineering regarding the inability of the DashCommand app to save the log file on my iPhone 4S. I had informed them that I tried logging data for about 3 hours on a recent trip and my phone froze while trying to save the file. The file was never saved. Here is the email from tech support.

We have logged a several hour trip before, but we haven't tested on the
iPhone 4S with a really large file like that. We'll start testing this and
make sure it can save large logs.

I know that we have saved a 3-4 hour log on Android before without any trouble.

Obviously DashCommand needs more testing on the iPhone 4S. For AppRadio owners this is the only device that matters really. The fact that it works on Android doesn't really help. Hopefully a fix will come soon because the $50 investment in the app is quite a large one.

More updates soon.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

DashCommand Data Logging Issue

DashCommand's data logging feature needs a fix.
So I tried to log my vehicle data using DashCommand on a recent 500-mile trip. I started logging data when I left my house and tried to stop the logging when I got to my destination 250 miles away. The app tried to save the data log file on my iPhone 4S but after waiting for almost 20 minutes for the task to complete I gave up because my iPhone froze. I had to do a hard reset.

On my way back home I started logging data again.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Update Your DashCommand To 2.9.1

DashCommand Update 2.9.1

The developers of DashCommand have pushed an update to their iOS app. The new version 2.9.1 promises a variety of bug fixes. I haven't encountered any of the bugs reported in the update but I have already updated the app. Hopefully this update fixes the AppRadio freezing issue I had a couple of days ago. As always, the update is free for current app owners. Happy updating!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Extend Your AppRadio Cable

Do you find the iPhone/iPod Touch connector cable attached to your AppRadio to be too short? I did. The way my AppRadio was connected in my car the cable extends from the center arm rest between the driver and passenger seats. It is about a foot long at best. As we all know, one needs access to the iPhone/iPod Touch at all times while using it with the AppRadio. This is an issue for discussion in a separate post altogether. I think Pioneer needs to make it easier to use the AppRadio without ever having to touch the iPhone/iPod Touch.

So how do you extend this short cable? There are cable extenders available on eBay and Amazon, for example, which will extend the cable but don't essentially work. They will charge your iOS device but other functions will not work (iPod, DashCommand, Rdio etc.). This is because these cheaper cables do not pass all iPhone/iPod Touch functionality through them. They only provide connections for the power ports in the 30-pin connector.

The solution?

Monday, November 28, 2011

DashCommand Hits A Snag!

I'm learning new things about my car through DashCommand every day. So I was playing around with it yesterday and hit a snag. DashCommand became unresponsive on the AppRadio. I haven't found out what triggered it but the app refused to take touch commands on the stereo. Other functions like iPod, radio and apps like Rdio and Pandora seemed to work without issues.

The DashCommand app worked fine on the iPhone. When I connected the cable to the AppRadio though it was unusable. Basically nothing would click on tapping. Pressing the home button on the AppRadio brought me to the main screen. The volume buttons worked too. But none of the DashCommand menu icons on the AppRadio were clickable.


Friday, November 25, 2011

DashCommand for AppRadio: Initial Thoughts

I've been waiting quite a while for more apps to be available for the AppRadio since I bought it this past summer. Initially only four third-party apps were compatible: Rdio, MotionX GPS Drive, INRIX Traffic and Pandora. Eventually I figured out that Netflix and YouTube could also be used with the AppRadio, albeit using the neat double-DIN screen of the car stereo as an external display. Of course, the iPod app was compatible too.

Then came the sort of second wave of apps that had included AppRadio functionality. These included StreamS HiFi Radio, AUPEO! and DashCommand. While the other two are apps used for streaming music over the internet, DashCommand is totally different. It is an OBD-II vehicle instrumentation application. It basically gives car specific data and gauges that are obtained directly from the engine (using OBD-II hardware which needs to be bought separately). The app itself costs $49.99 in the iOS App Store.
The DashCommand app interface.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

AppRadio Posts Start Here...


Here's a little flavor of what to expect…

Pioneer AppRadio - What this blog is all about!