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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Use The Favorites List To Quickly Access Settings On Pioneer NEX Or AppRadio 4

Pioneer's NEX software is quite possibly the best head unit software around these days. There are a lot of settings that can be toggled. Multiple settings means its not always easy to find the setting you commonly need to change. But Pioneer's NEX software has a solution.

All NEX head units, Pioneer's AppRadio 4 (SPH-DA120) and the 2015 lineup of head units have a favorites list which you can use to add settings that you can access quickly and easily. Here's how to use it...

Hyundai Will Offer CarPlay And Android Auto In 2016 Models; Demo At CES 2015

2015 promises to be a big year for car infotainment with Android Auto joining Apple CarPlay as smartphone-integrated platforms for your vehicle. Although CarPlay has been available for a while through Pioneer and Alpine head units, Android Auto is yet to be released on any platform.

Hyundai is looking to make a big splash at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2015) next week when it will demo both, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, in its vehicles. In a press release, the automaker has announced its own Display Audio system which ditches the traditional CD/DVD player and in-built navigation design for a fully smartphone-integrated platform.

Details are below.

AppRadioLIVE App Updated Again But What's New?

For the second time in less than three weeks, Pioneer has released an update for its AppRadioLIVE app. However, the App Store description for the latest version 1.1.2 is exactly the same as it was for the previous version 1.1.2. So what's new?

The App Store description is below...

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

A Look Into The Future - Pioneer AppRadio 5 With CarPlay, Android Auto & AppRadio One [Opinion]

Pioneer may have put another nail in the AppRadio Mode coffin with the announcement of AppRadio One yesterday. As more information becomes available, it seems like the two modes will be different from each other. Especially because of the way smartphones need to be connected to the newer head units.

So I'm going to take the liberty of speculating on Pioneer's next generation AppRadio 5 and how it will be sold to potential customers.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Enjoy "AppRadio One" With These 2015 Pioneer Head Units At Discounted Prices [Deals]

Pioneer has announced AppRadio One and iDataLink Maestro connectivity for its 2015 line of head units. AppRadio One is Pioneer's latest version of the familiar AppRadio Mode software. It allows users to use smartphone apps with the use of a single cable - no more cluttered cable kits. If you haven't heard about these updates, click here.

AppRadio One and iDataLink Maestro are available for the new head units via firmware updates which are already available for download from Pioneer's website. The 2015 head units are a lower price option for those looking to upgrade their car's stereo system. 

A total of seven AppRadio One-compatible head units (AVH-X5700BHS, AVH-X4700BS, AVH-X3700BHS, AVH-X2700BS, AVH-X1700S, AVH-X7700BT, AVH-X6700DVD) areavailable for purchase at the moment with suggested retail prices ranging between $280 and $500. But if you're really looking for a bargain, you can get these head units at hugely discounted prices from Amazon.

Details are below.

7 Pressing "Pioneer AppRadio One" Answers That Everyone Wants

No more screen resizing with AppRadio One?

In a press release put out just a few hours ago, Pioneer Electronics announced release of its next generation AppRadio Mode functionality called "AppRadio One." The feature will be available only for the recently announced 2015 line of head units via a firmware update.

What is AppRadio One and how does it work? There are plenty of other such questions that come to mind. With whatever information that's available at the moment, I have put together a list of questions and possible answers that might help explain AppRadio One a little better.

[BREAKING] Pioneer Announces "AppRadio One" - Improved AppRadio Mode For 2015 Head Units

I guess you could say this was only a matter of time. In an attempt to inject new life into its own AppRadio Mode, Pioneer Electronics has announced "AppRadio One" for its newest line of head units. 

The distinguishing feature of AppRadio One is that it will work with a USB lightning cable only; No more complicated cable kits and adapters. But looks like the feature will only be available in 2015 head unit models through a firmware update.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

AppRadio App Updated With Support For iPhone 6; How To Correctly Install Update

Pioneer has released an update for its AppRadio app yesterday. The update, version 2.8.1, has added support for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus along with some other improvements.

If you install the update from the App Store you are likely to run into some connectivity issues like I did. As a result, follow these steps when installing the latest version to avoid any issues. These instructions apply to the iOS version of the app only. Current AppRadio Mode issues and a note on the Android version are below too.

Friday, December 19, 2014

This Last-Minute Holiday Stocking Stuffer List Of Car Tech Gifts Is Worth A Look [Deals]

Car tech products and accessories can make great stocking stuffer gifts for the holidays. If you are still looking for last minute gift ideas, check out this list of products that could help.

BMW Will Demo Self-Parking, Smartwatch-Controlled i3 At CES 2015

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) brings greats gadgets on display every year and a lot of buzz is created by automakers. CES 2015 which kicks off on January 6, 2015 in Las Vegas, will be no different.

According to a press release, BMW will showcase its latest technology at the event. This includes 360-degree collision avoidance and fully-automated parking in multi-storey car parks.

What's more - The self-parking feature includes full control via a smartwatch app. More details are below.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Pioneer AppRadio 4 (SPH-DA120) Price Drops Below $450 For The First Time [Deals]

NOTE: This is a regularly updated repost and is often pasted to the top of this page. Newer posts may be below.

The latest Pioneer AppRadio 4 (SPH-DA120) is available for purchase for a low price of $448.85 on Amazon. This is the all-time lowest price we've found. Previous low was during Black Friday week at $454.

The price puts the device at $151 below the suggested retail price by Pioneer. Add $6.99 for shipping. To purchase the CarPlay-capable head unit visit Amazon using this link...

Passengers Made To Test-Ride In A Super-Fast Driverless Audi RS 7 [Video]


Check this out.

Audi developed and built a couple of autonomous car concepts in under 6 months. They named the cars AJ and Bobby after racing drivers A. J. Foyt and Bobby Usner. These cars were tested publicly for the first time at the Grand Prix track in Hockenheim, Germany, a few weeks ago.

These weren't just any driverless cars but a couple of super-fast Audi RS 7 Concept vehicles. One of the cars completed a full lap at Hockenheim at 220 kmph (or 140 mph) while being controlled solely by software.

Then, 25 passengers were brought in.

Apple Introduces CarPlay Guidelines For Its 'Made-For-iPhone/iPad/iPod' (MFi) Program

Apple recently introduced official guidelines for companies intending to integrate CarPlay in their hardware through its 'Made-for-iPhone/iPad/iPod' (MFi) licensing program. The program is the same one that enables third-party manufacturers to make Apple accessories like chargers, cables, docks etc.

CarPlay has been available for a few weeks now and has been received with primarily positive responses. Currently, two aftermarket head unit manufacturers (Pioneer and Alpine) have CarPlay-enabled head units for sale. With the guidelines being officially released now, more companies may follow.

Monday, December 15, 2014

'CarPlay Activator' Tweak Will Bring The CarPlay Interface To iOS Devices [Video]

Jailbreaking your iOS device has plenty of benefits. One such benefit is the possibility of bringing the Apple CarPlay interface to your device. That's exactly what an upcoming jailbreak tweak called 'CarPlay Activator' is hoping to do.

CarPlay Activator is different from 'CarPlay iOS' which I wrote about a few days ago. Both tweaks aim to do the same thing. The former is being developed by Adam Bell, a well known developer in the jailbreak community. The website idownloadblog got a sneak peek and posted a 9-minute walkthrough video of CarPlay activator.

More details and the video are below the break.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Customize The Apple CarPlay Interface With A Few Tweaks [How-To]

Apple normally doesn't allow customizing anything in the user interface of any of its software. But there are always ways to change colors and fonts if you really wanted to.

CarPlay is no different. In fact, Apple forces developers to use a fixed interface for their apps. The layout, buttons, colors, fonts etc. are the same for all third-party apps.

So how do you change things (at least a few of them) within CarPlay? You will need a jailbroken iPhone to begin with.

Someone Needs To Fix 'Hey Siri' In Apple CarPlay

Apple has a very useful feature in iOS 8 called 'Hey Siri.' When the iDevice is plugged in to a power source, saying the phrase 'Hey Siri' activates the voice assistant. This is particularly useful while driving.

The feature works great most of the time. It's worked fine in AppRadio Mode on Pioneer's compatible head units and continues to do so. The only problem it seems to have is in CarPlay.

Friday, December 12, 2014

CarPlay Works Fine On Jailbroken iPhone 6 (iOS 8.1.2) And Pioneer AppRadio 4 [Jailbreak]

The recently released TaiG untethered jailbreak for iOS 8.1.2 has received the thumbs up across the board. If you like jailbreaking your iDevice, you should check out TaiG.

Does the jailbreak affect CarPlay in any way? Read along for details.

No More Wallets! Electronic Driver Licenses Planned In Iowa [Report]

The state of Iowa is planning on bringing cellphone-based driver licenses to its citizens. A native app from the Department of Transportation (DOT) is being discussed, which will contain all the information your driver license holds.

The logistics of a smartphone app which contains sensitive information could be tricky but we already live in a world where our credit cards exist on our smartphones. The Des Moines Register posted a report yesterday with more details.

Here are some excerpts from the report...

Thursday, December 11, 2014

TaiG Team Invites The Pangu Team To Bury The Hatchet And Work Together [Jailbreak]

Earlier today, I wrote about the competition in the jailbreak world and how two Chinese developer teams, TaiG and Pangu, have been going at it over the last few months. The race to find the perfect, stable, and popular untethered jailbreak after every iOS release seems to be the norm these days.

But what looks like a rivalry may soon end up being a strong partnership. As the TaiG team writes in an announcement on their website, the cooperation would be for "providing fast and better jailbreak service together."

Read the entire announcement below.

Fierce Competition In The Jailbreak World Could Mean Faster Jailbreaks Ever

Apple's latest iOS version 8.1.2 was released yesterday. With every update, Apple patches jailbreak exploits which means existing jailbreaks will no longer work. So you would think version 8.1.2 is not jailbreakable yet, since its so new and there hasn't been enough time for developers to find an exploit. That is not true though.

Before I tell you about the newest jailbreak for version 8.1.2, we need to dial back the clock a few weeks and see what's been going on.

AppRadioLIVE App Updated With Several Performance Enhancements [AppRadio Mode]

I haven't mentioned much about Pioneer's AppRadio Mode these days, especially with Apple CarPlay making most of the news. But there has been an update released on one of the AppRadio Mode compatible apps from Pioneer which may be worth a mention.

AppRadioLIVE is one of Pioneer's newer apps for AppRadio Mode which brings together 'connected' functions. It is an iOS only app at the moment. The latest update version 1.1.1 has the following improvements added...

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Apple Maps In CarPlay Displays A Compass When Getting Directions

If you use CarPlay to get directions, you may have noticed the little compass that shows you which way you're headed. If you don't know where to find it, take a look at the image below...

Monday, December 8, 2014

Watch This Unboxing & Demo Video Of The New CarPlay-enabled Alpine iLX-007 [Video]

When it comes to packaging, Alpine Electronics may win over Pioneer. Their latest CarPlay-enabled head unit, the iLX-007, comes packaged in a fancy looking box that could easily pass for an Apple product.

The device is competition for Pioneer's AppRadio 4 (SPH-DA120) and AVH-4000NEX, both of which offer more features at a lower price. But the iLX-007 has a few nice features of it's own too.

Above all, it features a very small form factor for a double-din head unit, which will be useful for certain car owners that don't have a lot of depth in their dashboards. What else should you expect from the iLX-007? Watch this awesome unboxing and demo video from the YouTube channel "Five Star Car Stereo Inc."

How To Take A Screenshot Of Your CarPlay Interface [How-To]

For those of you wondering how to take perfect CarPlay screenshots on your car's head unit, it is simpler than you think. You may have seen screenshots I've posted in previous posts or in CarPlay posts on other sites. This is how it's done...

Special '4-Pole Mini AV Plug To 3-RCA Cable' Needed To Play Videos On The Alpine iLX-007

Alpine has left out quite a few "standard" features in its first Apple CarPlay-enabled head unit, the iLX-007. There is no Bluetooth connectivity, HDMI port or additional USB ports for hooking up external media. There is, however, an Auxiliary In connection which is capable of audio and video input.

The AUX In port will accept a mini AV plug pin, but if you want to play videos, you will need a cable that supports it.

According to the owner's manual of the iLX-007, the AUX In port (which is a part of the AUX/Camera/Remote Out connector), requires an AV/RCA interface cable. The cable has to be a 4-pole mini AV plug to 3-RCA. Take a look at this graphic...

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Android 5.0 Lollipop Update Slowly Rolling Out To Smartphones [Android]

Google announced Android 5.0 Lollipop last month when it unveiled its latest Nexus 6 smartphone. The update is slowly rolling out to manufacturers and even though some of Google's own smartphones have got the updates, not all Android smartphones have.

One of the main differences between iOS and Android is the issue with updates and how Android devices don't get the update at the same time across the board. The term "fragmentation" is often tossed around, mostly in a negative way.

Lollipop features Android Auto, Google's own horse in the car entertainment race to go up against Apple's CarPlay. Android Auto integration in cars will be more clear at CES 2015 next month. We may even get information on the aftermarket front at the event.

It is up to individual smartphone manufacturers to release the Lollipop updates to their customers once Google passes on the software to them. Most of the smartphone-makers have announced tentative timelines for a possible release date. Here's a round up, see where your smartphone figures...

Minimalism - Check Out These Connection Ports On The Alpine iLX-007

The Alpine iLX-007 is a gorgeous looking double-DIN head unit that is Apple CarPlay-capable. The device has a chassis depth that measures half the size of conventional double-DIN head units. It is, of course, mechless, meaning it doesn't feature a DVD/CD drive but is optimized for smartphone connectivity.

Alpine's minimalistic approach extends to the connection ports on the back of the unit too. Take a look at this image showing the ports available for connection...

Reduce Glare On The Pioneer AppRadio 4 With A DIY Screen Protector [DIY Project]

The smooth glass screen of the new Pioneer AppRadio 4 (SPH-DA120) is quite stunning. The picture quality is very good and the new flush-sitting capacitive buttons make the device look like a tablet in your dashboard.

But just like today's tablets and smartphones, glass screens have one problem. They are highly reflective and produce glare in bright sunlight. This can make things difficult to see on the screen, not to mention the fingerprint magnets that they are.

In the last month or so that I've been using the AppRadio 4, I've had many occasions where the bright sunlight has made it close to impossible to see what's on the screen. This is especially annoying when you're getting directions to some place. The issue may seem minor but it drove me to exploring for a custom-fit anti-glare screen protector.

New Jailbreak Tweak 'CarPlay iOS' Allows Using CarPlay On The iPhone Itself [Jailbreak]

There's a new iOS jailbreak tweak available on the Cydia Store right now called CarPlay iOS that allows users to have the CarPlay interface on the iPhone itself. CarPlay is an iOS feature that normally is used on an external device like an aftermarket head unit or a car's dashboard.

The tweak is in its infancy at the moment though. More details are below including a demo video.

New Subscribers Can Enjoy Spotify Premium For Only $0.99 Per Month For 3 Months

Spotify Premium is one of the many paid music streaming subscriptions available these days. The iOS version of the app has Apple CarPlay support making it a good option for CarPlay-enabled head unit owners.

Just last month, Spotify announced their partnership with Uber. You can now link your Uber app with your Spotify account and listen to the tracks you like while getting a ride. The service allows users to even change tracks, playlists etc. while in the back seat of the car.

If you've been sitting on the fence about signing up for the service, this may be the right time.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

CES 2015 May Provide A Taste Of The Apple CarPlay Vs. Android Auto Battle [Opinion]

Along with cooler temperatures, every January brings the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) to Las Vegas, Nevada. CES 2015 is scheduled for January 6 - 9 next year and is expected to draw a lot of interest as usual.

On the car entertainment front, there will be quite a few things to look forward to. Top of the list will be car companies showing off Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

What else can one expect? Let's speculate.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Dear Apple, Please Allow Me To Rearrange App Icons In CarPlay!

Apple CarPlay has been a nice addition to a lot of people's existing cars via aftermarket head units. The technology allows users to have smartphone app functionality in their vehicles, in a safe manner.

When it was first announced back in March this year, CarPlay had support for only four third-party apps - Beats Music, iHeartRadio, Spotify and Stitcher. But that list has grown to nine as of today (including Apple's Podcasts app).

So what happens when you have more apps than what CarPlay can display on the screen? You end up with more than one page of apps which you need to swipe through. Just like on an iPhone or iPad. And because Apple has strict rules on how icons are arranged, there are some inconveniences that crop up.

Overcast Podcast Player Adds Apple CarPlay Support; 9 Apps Now Supported

Overcast Podcast Player has become the latest CarPlay-compatible third-party app. The list of third-party apps is slowly but surely growing. With Overcast, that number now stands at nine.

Here are some more details about Overcast and why its addition to the CarPlay list might be significant...