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Friday, October 31, 2014

Don't Blame Apple CarPlay Interface Sluggishness On Pioneer [Opinion]

Initial Pioneer NEX and AppRadio 4 user feedback suggests minor sluggishness issues with the Apple CarPlay interface. For example, changing tracks or triggering Siri sometimes takes a few extra seconds. But this has nothing to do with Pioneer or their hardware.

Another Spotify Update Released; Support Says CarPlay Issues Fixed

Another Spotify iOS app update was released yesterday. Version 1.9.0 doesn't include any fixes in the description for the CarPlay issues we wrote about a few days ago. But Spotify support says, the issues may have been fixed.

Here is the App Store description of the new version...

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Spotify App Still Has Major Issues With Apple CarPlay

Apple announced earlier this year that Spotify would be coming to CarPlay, making it one of the first compatible third-party apps. Pioneer released CarPlay for its NEX receivers and AppRadio 4 on October 1 and users have been able to "field test" the app ever since.

Spotify released an update for its iOS app on October 1 promising CarPlay compatibility. But major issues existed making the service almost unusable within CarPlay. Then, on October 20, another Spotify update was released which once again promised CarPlay compatibility. But nothing much has changed since.

When using Spotify with CarPlay, a variety of problems crop up. Based on feedback from our readers and what Spotify users are saying across different mediums, I have listed the existing issues with the app below...

Upgrading Your Car's Sound System? Use Pioneer's New FitGuide

Pioneer Electronics has set up an online "FitGuide" which can be used to find the perfect sound system for your car. No matter what car you drive or how old it is, upgrading the head unit or sound system is possible in most cases.

Apple's latest CarPlay technology, for example, can be enjoyed in the vehicle you already own if you have one of Pioneer's NEX receivers or AppRadio 4.

Here's how you can use the FitGuide.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

PRICE DROP: Pioneer AppRadio 4 (SPH-DA120) Available On Amazon For $589 [Deals]

The new Pioneer AppRadio 4 (SPH-DA120) is available for purchase on Amazon for $589.99. This is the lowest price we have found so far by $10. Most places sell the device at the full retail price of $600.

The Amazon listing is from E&B Electronics. The double-DIN AppRadio 4 is Pioneer's latest device which features Apple CarPlay right out of the box and a 6.2-inch capacitive touchscreen. Click the affiliate link below to be taken to the listing on Amazon...

Monday, October 27, 2014

Apple's Patent Filings Show Possible CarPlay Enhancements And Car Remote

Apple files a lot of patent applications with the United States Patents and Trademarks Office (USPTO) each year and most of them don't see the light of day as consumer products. But every once a while, an interesting patent pops up.

Last Tuesday, the USPTO granted Apple a patent for a car remote-like device that works with CarPlay. More details are below.

Best Buy Now Has The Pioneer AppRadio 4 (SPH-DA120) In Stock

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Best Buy now has the Pioneer AppRadio 4 (SPH-DA120) available for purchase online. The device is also available for purchase in most Best Buy retail stores.

You can head over to Best Buy's website iconand purchase the new AppRadio 4 which is priced at $599.99. The device ships FREE within one business day. Sales tax is added in most states.

Amazon also has the device for sale with more stock being available. Free shipping is available.

The AppRadio 4 features Apple CarPlay on a 6.2-inch capacitive touchscreen. For full details, visit Pioneer's website.

Friday, October 24, 2014

iHeartRadio App Updated To Add Apple CarPlay Compatibility

Slowly buy surely, the apps that were promised to be Apple CarPlay compatible are being updated. Today, iHeartRadio joined the list.

The update has also added another useful feature.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Not All CarPlay Compatible Apps Have Been Updated For Use Yet

If you visit Apple's CarPlay webpage, you will see a list of eight third-party apps that are believed to be compatible. These are Podcasts, Beats Music, iHeartRadio, MLB At Bat, Spotify, Stitcher, CBS Radio and Rdio. Even though Apple claims these apps will work with CarPlay it isn't the case. 

The apps have to be updated by developers to enable CarPlay compatibility. Out of the eight apps, only three apps are CarPlay compatible at the moment.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

EC Touch For AppRadio Updated With New iOS 8 Keyboard Fix

EC Touch for AppRadio was recently updated with a temporary fix for the crashing issue related to iOS 8. The issue arose when trying to use the keyboard within the app. The previous fix activated the keyboard on the iPhone instead of the head unit, which could be used to input text.

But today, developers have updated the EC Touch app with a permanent fix. A new keyboard system has been added which now allows users to input text from the head unit itself. Details are below.

How To Install Latest Pioneer CD & Digital Media Receiver Firmware Updates [How-To]

Pioneer has released new firmware for its CD and Digital Media receivers today. Installing the updates requires a USB 2.0 flash drive with more than 128MB of free space. The drive has to be formatted in FAT32 and should not contain any other files on it.

To perform the update perform the following steps...

Pioneer Releases Firmware Updates For CD And Digital Media Receivers

Seems like this month has been one of firmware updates for Pioneer Electronics. Following updates to its NEX and AppRadio 4 head units, today they've announced new firmware for CD and Digital Media receivers.

The following models will have to be updated to fix an existing issue...

[UPDATE] How To Use Two Devices With Your Pioneer AppRadio Simultaneously [How-To]

UPDATE: We have been informed that for this setup to work, one of the iPhones (in this case, the iPhone 4 which is wired to the AppRadio), should have an inactive SIM card in it.


Technically, you can't connect two smartphones to a Pioneer AppRadio simultaneously. Since Apple introduced its lightning connector, AppRadio users have had to use an HDMI connection to achieve connectivity. The 30-pin connector cannot be used to connect an iPhone 5 or later by using a simple adapter.

Using an Android smartphone and an iPhone simultaneously is also not possible. In an ideal scenario it would have been nice if users could wire two devices to the head unit and use both simultaneously or even be able to switch between the devices with the click of a button. But that can't be done.

One of our readers, however, sent us information on how he makes use of his old 30-pin iPhone 4 and uses it together with his new iPhone 6 when connecting to his AppRadio 3. Read along for more details.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Best Buy Finally Lists The New Pioneer AppRadio 4 As 'Coming Soon'

Best Buy is one of the authorized Pioneer dealers but the new AppRadio 4 (SPH-DA120) is still not available for purchase from them. Best Buy's website, however, has finally listed the device as 'Coming Soon.'

The device will be available for shipping as well as in-store purchase. No ETA has been mentioned though.

For those of you looking to pick up a new AppRadio 4, visit Amazon where the authorized Pioneer dealer 'The Sound of Tri-State Inc.' has the device for sale. Supplies don't last long so hurry.

Monday, October 20, 2014

New Firmware Update For Pioneer NEX Receivers Adds iDatalink Maestro Support

Pioneer Electronics has released another firmware update for its NEX receivers today. The latest version 1.08 comes a few days after version 1.06 brought Apple CarPlay to their devices. Today's update, however, adds iDatalink Maestro support and has a few bug fixes.

To perform the update, you need to follow similar instructions as the previous update. The update files for each of the NEX receivers is separate so make sure you get the correct file. You will need a USB flash drive or a microSD card to install the update, depending on your receiver's model number.

Here are full details from Pioneer...

First Pioneer AppRadio 4 (SPH-DA120) Firmware Update Now Available

Approximately three weeks after its release, the Pioneer AppRadio 4 (SPH-DA120) has received a firmware update from the manufacturer. The latest firmware version 1.07 brings a few fixes to the devices. The update process is similar to that found on Pioneer's NEX receivers.

Full details are below.

Pioneer AppRadio 4 SPH-DA120 Now In Stock At Amazon; Buy Soon [Deals]

After running out of stock for a few days, the new Pioneer AppRadio 4 (SPH-DA120) is now back in stock for purchase at Amazon. The device is sold by The Sound of Tri-State Inc., which is one of the authorized Pioneer dealers.

The AppRadio 4 features a 6.2-inch capacitive touchscreen, with Apple CarPlay capability being its biggest selling point. But apart from CarPlay, the head unit offers other robust features like Pioneer's own AppRadio Mode.

If you've been looking for an upgrade to your existing car stereo, the AppRadio 4 is the hottest device on the market at the moment. To purchase from Amazon, click the affiliate link below which shows the latest price. The device ships FREE within the United States.

Stocks run out quickly and at the time of this posting there were only 13 units left in stock. So hurry!

Driving With Apple CarPlay: User Video Gives An In-Depth Look At The Interface [Video]

I just stumbled upon this demo video that shows what it is like driving around while using Apple CarPlay in your car. The video is from the YouTube channel "EFTMOnline" and shows a Pioneer AVH-X8650BT running Apple CarPlay from an iPhone 6.

The AVH-X8650BT is Pioneer's Australian equivalent of the AVH-4000NEX which is available in the United States.

Here's the video...

Spotify App Updated To Fix Bug That Affected CarPlay

Spotify was one of the first third-party apps to add CarPlay compatibility. In fact, when CarPlay was announced by Apple back in March at the Geneva Motor Show this year, Spotify was already being mentioned as being CarPlay compatible along with Beats Music, Stitcher, and iHeartRadio.

With Pioneer releasing its CarPlay firmware update for NEX earlier this month, users have started field-testing the software and the compatible apps. Users have not been able to use the app without issues yet but an update has been released to add CarPlay support.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

AppEx Info Updates Have Been MIA Since April; Has Development Stopped? [Jailbreak]

Those of you who have used AppRadio Extensions or AppEx in the past, you will know how awesome it is to have full touch control of your iPhone from your AppRadio. Well, the jailbreak tweak lost compatibility when iOS 7 was released and has been an open source software for over a year now. 

But there has been no information or updates from the developer since April this year.

Watch The AppRadio 2 SPH-DA100 Controlling A GoPro Camera Using AppEX [Video]

AppEx or AppRadio Extensions is a jailbreak tweak that worked up until iOS 6 and gave users full touch control of their iPhones from a Pioneer AppRadio. Full touch control meant you could control any application on your iPhone from the dashboard without ever touching the iPhone.

The tweak is not compatible with iOS 7 or iOS 8. The developer behind the tweak made the software open source in trying to get help from other developers to help advance the technology. But AppEx has not yet been successfully coded to work with the latest iOS versions.

Users who have stuck with iOS 6 on their older iPhones are still able to use AppEx though. One such user has made a video showing him controlling the GoPro app from his Pioneer AppRadio 2 (SPH-DA100). It's a short video but shows what a tweak like AppEx is capable of. Watch it below...

Apple CarPlay Firmware Update Tutorial For The Folks Down Under [Video]

If you are from the land down under, Pioneer Australia has made a video tutorial showing how to install the Apple CarPlay firmware update on one of the compatible head units. The devices sold in Australia are Pioneer NEX equivalents but with different model numbers.

Apple CarPlay capable head units sold by Pioneer Australia are the AVIC-F60DAB, AVIC-960DAB and AVH-X8650BT. You can follow similar instructions as the ones in the tutorial below to install the latest firmware on Pioneer's NEX receivers in the United States.

Here's the video...

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Pioneer Electronics Has Finally Updated Its AppRadio Page

Pioneer Electronics has finally updated its US AppRadio webpage which, up until recently, showed the AppRadio 3 as the featured device. The new page now shows the latest AppRadio 4 (SPH-DA120).

Pioneer AppRadio 4 SPH-DA120 Availability Update; Sold Out On Amazon

The new Pioneer AppRadio 4 (SPH-DA120) is currently unavailable for purchase on Amazon. The initial stock of units sold by The Sound of Tri-State Inc. has run out.

The AppRadio 4 features a 6.2-inch capacitive touchscreen and is Apple CarPlay capable. The device is feature-rich with AppRadio Mode, various audio-video inputs, Pandora, Bluetooth connectivity etc. Here are all the places you can buy the new AppRadio 4 with included pricing information...

Rdio Is Back In Your Car's Dashboard, This Time Through Apple CarPlay

A little over a year ago, the subscription-based music streaming service Rdio removed AppRadio Mode compatibility from its iOS app. Users were no longer able to access the app from their car's dashboards. Although Rdio isn't the only music streaming service available, it was still quite popular.

But today, Rdio is coming back to your car by adding Apple CarPlay compatibility to its iOS app.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

How To Install Apple CarPlay Firmware Update On A Pioneer NEX Receiver [Video]

Pioneer's NEX receivers were the first aftermarket devices to bring Apple CarPlay to consumers. Existing NEX customers have to download and install a firmware update on their head units in order to use Apple's latest software.

The update process is simple as outlined by Pioneer on their website through step-by-step instructions. For those of you who find it easier to follow video instructions, here's an awesome YouTube video from the channel "ThisIsTyDell."

The video explains how to go about updating the firmware on your NEX receiver. The process should be similar on all NEX head units. Watch it below...

Monday, October 13, 2014

Snap Up The Pioneer AppRadio 4 From Amazon; Only 6 Left In Stock [Deals]

The new Pioneer AppRadio 4 (SPH-DA120) is available for purchase from Amazon. The item ships FREE and is sold by Sound of Tri-State Inc., which is one of the authorized Pioneer dealers.

The device features a 6.2-inch capacitive touchscreen and is Apple CarPlay capable.

Supplies are running out fast as the AppRadio 4 seems to be selling well. If you're in the market for a head unit upgrade, I suggest picking up one from Amazon as there are only 6 units left in stock at the time of this posting. Amazon's listing is also one of the lowest priced at this time at $599.99. Here's an affiliate link to purchase...

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Sprechen Sie Deutsch? Watch This AppRadio 4 Unboxing In German [Video]

The Pioneer AppRadio 4 (SPH-DA120) is being shipped to customers and as more people receive the device we will get to know it better. As far as unboxing videos go, we posted one last week from Pioneer Europe.

That video was in English but for our German readers, here's an excellent unboxing by YouTube user "Kai Stüven" in German.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Enjoy Apple CarPlay With One Of These Pioneer NEX Receivers [Amazon Deals]

Apple CarPlay for Pioneer NEX receivers is here! The firmware update that enables CarPlay is now available on Pioneer's website. You can enjoy CarPlay by purchasing one of these NEX receivers and we have the best prices in the market from Amazon listed below...

Study Says Car Handsfree Systems Are Not Necessarily Safer To Use [Report]

Although automakers and tech companies market handsfree car entertainment systems as being safe to use, a new research study done by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has found the opposite to be true. In other words, not all handsfree systems are safe to use while driving.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

AppRadio App Update Temporarily Fixes iOS 8 Crash Issues

Pioneer has provided what looks like a temporary fix to the iOS 8 compatibility issue of its AppRadio app. The iOS version of the app was updated to version 2.7.3 today. Here are details of how they've tackled the issue.

Pioneer AppRadio 4 (SPH-DA120) Now Available For Purchase On Amazon [Deals]

The new AppRadio 4 from Pioneer is now available for purchase from Amazon. The device ships FREE within 2 to 3 business days. Here's an affiliate link with the latest price ($599.99 at the time of this post).

Pioneer AppRadio 4 (SPH-DA120) Smartphone Receiver features a 6.2" Capacitive Touchscreen Display, Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth, Siri Eyes Free, Android Music Support, Pandora, FLAC Audio Support and On Screen Access to Compatible Apps.

The listing is from "Sound of Tri-State Inc." which is listed as one of the authorized dealers by Pioneer. Sales tax may be added based on your location in the United States. Shop away!

Why Audiophiles May Be Drawn To The Pioneer AppRadio 4 [Opinion]

The Pioneer AppRadio 4 (SPH-DA120), which was announced last week, will slowly start appearing in people's cars in the next few days. The new device is an upgrade from the previous generation AppRadio 3 (SPH-DA210 & SPH-DA110) with a lot of new features added.

At first glance, the addition of Apple CarPlay may stand out to most potential customers. But audiophiles looking at enjoying the best sound quality may also be drawn to the device. And here's why.

MIXTRAX Updated To Add iOS 8 Compatibility

AppRadio Mode compatible apps are slowly being updated to add iOS 8 compatibility. The latest one is Pioneer's own MIXTRAX, which is a virtual DJ app that makes your music library perform like tunes from a turntable.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Check Out These Cable Kit Requirements For AppRadio 4 Based On Smartphone

The new Pioneer AppRadio 4 (SPH-DA120) won't include the necessary cable kits for connecting your smartphone. Pioneer did away with including smartphone cables kits a couple of years ago. Now you have to purchase these kits separately.

So which cable kit do you need? It all depends on the smartphone you use, of course. Check out these tables put together by Pioneer explaining cable kit requirements. We found these in the AppRadio 4 user manual.

Future Phone Connections To Pioneer Car Stereos Won't Require Cable Adapter Kits

Ever since Apple announced its lightning connector, Pioneer head unit users have experienced a lot of wire clutter in their cars. With lightning, your iPhone usually needs an HDMI cable, Apple Digital Lightning Adapter or VGA/RGB connection kits to use your smartphone apps in your car.

Even MHL or connections for Android smartphones require bulky cable kits. The kits usually involve a lot of different cables, adapters and such.

Pioneer is going to end the misery soon though. The website Twice has posted a news story about a breakthrough connection technology that Pioneer is going to bring to its head units that will eliminate the use of cable kits. The announcement was made at the Paris Motor Show last week. More details are below.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

AppRadio 4 (SPH-DA120) Now Available For Purchase From Pioneer

The fourth generation AppRadio (SPH-DA120) is now available for purchase from Pioneer Electronics. You can buy the device directly from the manufacturer's website.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Pioneer's AppRadio 4 Punchline: "Buttons Are Overrated"

Pioneer has done away with physical buttons on the latest generation AppRadio. The digital button bar has been aligned to the left side of the screen in the AppRadio 4 (SPH-DA120). Previous generation AppRadios had the signature button bar at the bottom of the screen.

The digital buttons give the AppRadio 4 a flat front. The screen size is smaller at 6.2-inches compared to its 7-inch predecessor. Pioneer is using the punchline "buttons are overrated" to advertise its product.

Take a look at this banner on Pioneer Europe's homepage...

Demo Video Shows CarPlay Working On The New AppRadio 4 [Video]

Pioneer Europe showcased its newest gadget, the AppRadio 4 (SPH-DA120) at the Paris Motor Show 2014 last week. We found this demo video of Apple CarPlay working on the head unit from the YouTube channel "Mac4EverOfficiel." The video is in French.

Watch the demo below...

Watch This AppRadio 4 Unboxing Video From Pioneer Europe [Video]

The new AppRadio 4 (SPH-DA120) isn't available for purchase yet even though Pioneer had mentioned it will be shipped to authorized dealers when the device was announced. Pioneer Europe has made an unboxing video though, showing what to find in the box and how to setup the head unit when you first connect it.

Watch that video below...

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Crutchfield Lists The Pioneer AppRadio 4 (SPH-DA120) For Preorder

Pioneer's latest AppRadio 4 (SPH-DA120) may soon become the hottest selling car head unit given that it is CarPlay capable. Although Pioneer announced the device will be shipping immediately to big box and online retailers, we are yet to see it listed for sale in any of those places, with the exception of one.

Crutchfield is one of the authorized dealer of Pioneer products and the retailer has listed the AppRadio 4 for preorder. And if you end up purchasing it from them, they offer some freebies too.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Pioneer AppRadio Mode Lives On But Apple CarPlay May Soon Kill It [Opinion]

Apple CarPlay is now available for the car you already own through one of Pioneer's latest head units. In addition to the five existing NEX head units, Pioneer announced a new AppRadio 4 (SPH-DA120) which is also CarPlay capable.

The AppRadio 4 puts CarPlay and Pioneer's own AppRadio Mode on the same device. AppRadio Mode has been allowing the use of smartphone apps in the car since 2011 and features many more third-party apps than CarPlay.

Looks like Pioneer will continue to support and develop AppRadio Mode at the moment, but for how long?

Check Out This CarPlay Video Tutorial From Pioneer [Video]

If you're a NEX customer you must have downloaded the CarPlay firmware update that Pioneer put out a couple of days ago. Apple's latest firmware puts the four core iOS functions in your dashboard: Phone, Messaging, Music and Maps.

The interface is pretty straightforward and familiar. And to make things easier, Pioneer has made a video tutorial giving customers a walkthrough of CarPlay functionality. The new AppRadio 4 (SPH-DA120) is also CarPlay capable. You can watch the video below...

Friday, October 3, 2014

Pioneer's Firmware Download Links Down Due To Heavy Traffic [UPDATE: Fixed]

Following the release of firmware updates for NEX head units, Pioneer's website was inundated by heavy traffic. NEX customers every where got on to the site to download the update which enables Apple CarPlay on the head unit.

Just a few hours after the site was having problems loading, Pioneer announced they have fixed the problem. As a result, you can now get on the site and download the firmware for your corresponding head unit without any issues.

Here's how to download...

Thursday, October 2, 2014

How To Install Pioneer NEX Head Unit Firmware Update Using A Mac [How-To]

Pioneer NEX head unit firmware updates are now available for download. The updates enable Apple CarPlay on your head unit.

Updating the firmware requires installation using a USB flash drive or microSD Card. One of the requirements is having the installation files in the root folder of the drive being used. No other files should be present on the drive.

Some users have found it difficult to perform the update using a Mac because formatting a drive on a Mac writes hidden files onto the drive which gives an error on the head unit while updating. Here is a workaround to the update process when using a Mac.

Pioneer AppRadio 4 (SPH-DA120) Connection Ports Compared To Previous Generation AppRadios

Pioneer has updated its AppRadio line of products every year starting 2011. The first AppRadio SPH-DA01 and SPH-DA02 gained popularity because it put smartphone apps in your dashboard. Now, in 2014, the AppRadio 4 (SPH-DA120) will bring robust features like Apple CarPlay, NEX and Navigation to the dash.

We have found a picture of the AppRadio 4's connection ports posted by Pioneer on their website. Look below and see how the ports compare to the AppRadio 2 (SPH-DA100) and AppRadio 3 (SPH-DA210)...