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Thursday, December 3, 2015

What To Expect From The Next Generation AppRadio [CES 2016]

In a little over a month from now, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2016) will kick off in Las Vegas, Nevada. The annually held event will bring leading tech companies together to showcase upcoming products.

CES has also hosted car tech companies and aftermarket product manufacturers like Pioneer, Alpine and Kenwood. In fact, devices like the AppRadios, NEX head units etc. were announced at CES. The event in past years has brought CarPlay and Android Auto head to head too.

Pioneer's last installment of the AppRadio was the SPH-DA120 or AppRadio 4 which was announced and launched in October 2014. Which means, if there is another iteration of the device, it is already overdue. It could also mean, CES 2016 may be the appropriate stage to make the announcement.

So what should we expect from the next generation AppRadio or AppRadio 5 or maybe the third-generation NEX head units? Let me speculate...

1. Wireless CarPlay: Apple's CarPlay software is capable of working wirelessly since iOS 9 was released. But there isn't any hardware to support it yet. Including wireless capability in the next generation AppRadio makes sense. Being able to use CarPlay wirelessly will be simply awesome.

Although it seems like an easy guess, there are a few challenges. Wireless charging will have to be available to maintain charge on the iPhone while CarPlay is used wirelessly. Current iPhone hardware is not capable of charging wirelessly. Of course, you could plug it in to a power source but that defeats the 'wireless' purpose.

2. Android Auto: The current AppRadio 4 is only CarPlay compatible. So including Android Auto compatibility in the next AppRadio is a no-brainer.

3. AppRadio One: A single cable connection to get Pioneer's AppRadio Mode to work. In fact, it was surprising that Pioneer overlooked AppRadio One in the second-generation NEX receivers which were announced at CES 2015. Currently, only the 2015 Pioneer DVD and Multimedia receivers support AppRadio One.

4. Hardware for the AppRadio 5: I think Pioneer should go back to the 7-inch capacitive touchscreen for the AppRadio 5. The AppRadio 4 features a 6.2-inch screen which was smaller than the 7-inch AppRadio 3.

5. Others: Other multimedia connectivity features like MirrorLink, iDataLink Maestro, MIXTRAX, etc. will likely be retained.

What features would you like to see in the next generation head units from Pioneer? Sound off in the comments below.

CES 2016 will be held from January 6 - 9 in Las Vegas, Nevada.


  1. Only thing to expect. That AppRadio 4 become obsolete and unsupported by Pioneer.

    1. Same worry. No firmware updates since Oct 2014.

  2. The industry's support for MirrorLink has been bad comedy. There are hardly any Android apps that support it, and those that did were buggy at best. Pioneer's support for IDatalink has also been absurd. The most that can be done is to use the IDatalink adapter as a universal steering wheel control adapter. Pioneer doesn't support the car engine stats features that give the reason for it existing in the first place. And no one cares about Mixtrax.

  3. Can I assume that there was no such product whatsoever at CES 2016?


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