Ford Brings CarPlay to 2016 Vehicles With SYNC 3 Update

Ford today released a SYNC 3 software update that adds CarPlay and Android Auto support to its 2016 model year vehicles.


Ford said customers with Wi-Fi-enabled vehicles can set up their vehicle to receive the update automatically. SYNC 3 version 2.2 can also be downloaded from the Ford Owner website and installed with a USB drive, or customers can visit any Ford dealership to have the update process completed for free.

Last summer, Ford made CarPlay and Android Auto available in all of its 2017 vehicles with SYNC 3. At the time, it promised it would bring CarPlay and Android Auto to its 2016 model year vehicles by the end of the year, and while it missed that target by about five months, the update has now arrived.

In late 2015, Ford retroactively added Siri Eyes Free support to 5 million 2011-2016 model year vehicles.

CarPlay brings Maps, Phone, Messages, Music, Podcasts, and a number of third-party apps like Spotify to a vehicle's dashboard. Apple's in-car software can be controlled with Siri and a vehicle's built-in controls for convenient access to common iPhone features. It's compatible with iPhone 5 and later.

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Tags: Android Auto, Ford, Ford SYNC

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Pioneer Unveils New Aftermarket CarPlay Receivers, Including First Single-DIN Model For Older Vehicles

Pioneer today unveiled five new NEX in-dash multimedia receivers with CarPlay and Android Auto support, including its first single-DIN model.


The single-DIN AVH-3300NEX is a smaller, more universally sized receiver that can fit into many older and collectible cars. Unlike a double-DIN receiver, which has a built-in display, this single-DIN model features a 7-inch pop out, motorized display. The whole unit is also detachable for added security.

The other four receivers are double-DIN models, including the 7-inch AVH-2330NEX and AVH-2300NEX and 6.2-inch AVH-1330NEX and AVH-1300NEX.

In addition to CarPlay and Android Auto, Pioneer said all five receivers feature Bluetooth for hands-free calling and music streaming, native Spotify and Pandora, a USB port, HD Radio, and SiriusXM compatibility with a tuner sold separately. All models are also backup camera and Pioneer navigation system ready.

The AVH-3300NEX, AVH-2330NEX and AVH-1330NEX also come with a remote control to adjust volume, audio sources, and more.

Pioneer said the new NEX lineup will be available through resellers in July with suggested retail prices of $600 for the single-DIN model, and between $400 and $500 for the double-DIN models, in the United States.

Pioneer's current NEX receivers retail for between $400 and $1,400 in the United States. Competing aftermarket CarPlay systems are available from Alpine, Clarion, Kenwood, JVC, JBL, Sony, and other manufacturers.

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Tag: Pioneer

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CarPlay Scores 85% Customer Satisfaction Rate in Limited Study

iPhone owners are largely satisfied with Apple's CarPlay, according to a new report from market research firm Strategy Analytics.


The report is available to Strategy Analytics clients only, but author Chris Schreiner shared some of his findings with MacRumors.

31 percent of users said they were "very satisfied" with CarPlay, while 54 percent said they were "satisfied," for an overall customer satisfaction rate of 85 percent. However, the report only looked at 70 owners of 2016-2017 vehicles with CarPlay installed in the United States, which is a rather small sample size.

43 percent of those users are "very likely" to recommend CarPlay to others, while 37 percent are "likely" to recommend it, said Strategy Analytics. Those with CarPlay were likely to use it for "all or most" of their in-car infotainment needs, often in favor of their vehicle's standard system, according to the report.

70 percent of participants with both CarPlay and a built-in navigation system in their car said they choose CarPlay with Apple Maps most or all of the time over their vehicle's standard system. 59 percent of the people said they use CarPlay for audio needs most or all of the time over their vehicle's radio.

"Given Apple's continued updates to CarPlay enhancing the experience further, and car-makers' inability to do the same along with their long development times, CarPlay is poised to handle the vast majority of consumers' in-vehicle needs," said Schreiner, Director of Syndicated Research at Strategy Analytics.

While customer satisfaction with CarPlay might be strong, Apple's in-car software platform is far from perfect.

Last month, a side-by-side test of CarPlay and Android Auto showed Siri was often unable to properly interpret what the driver was saying, which in one case led Apple Maps to incorrectly navigate him to an address in Tennessee rather than Toronto. Android Auto, meanwhile, interpreted voice commands correctly.

Video courtesy of YouTube channel The Straight Pipes via Daring Fireball

CarPlay continues to improve in other areas. In iOS 10.3, for example, Apple provided drivers with a quicker and safer way to switch between apps without having to take their eyes off the road for long periods of time. Wireless CarPlay is also now available in select BMW models, or with Alpine's aftermarket system.

Apple is also rumored to be working on "enhanced" Siri capabilities for the iPhone, and those improvements would likely extend to CarPlay.

CarPlay is now available in over 200 vehicle models in the United States, enabling drivers to make and receive calls, access text messages, play music, get directions, check traffic conditions, and more with Siri voice commands and on-screen controls. The platform requires an iPhone 5 or newer.

Aftermarket systems are available from brands such as Alpine, Kenwood, and Pioneer for do-it-yourself CarPlay installations.

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Tag: Strategy Analytics

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Aircharge Announces Wireless iPhone Charging Case for BMW iDrive Ecosystem

Aircharge and BMW have teamed up to offer a customized wireless charging case for iPhones to take advantage of the new in-car wireless system that debuted in the BMW 5 Series Sedan earlier this year.

The BMW 5 Series Sedan was one of the first cars to include wireless CarPlay support, allowing iPhones to integrate with the BMW iDrive ecosystem over Bluetooth instead of a Lightning cable. In-car phone wireless charging is also standard in the 6 and 7 series and available as an option on the rest of the range.


Integrating the smartphone into the vehicle's system allows the iPhone to be operated directly via the screen in the car, the iDrive Touch Controller, voice commands or gestures, avoiding potential distractions whilst at the wheel.

Given that heavy usage of apps, navigation and music can drain a battery at the end of a drive, the addition of wireless charging solves this issue by keeping the device fully powered while in operation.

With Apple yet to launch a smartphone with the wireless charging function integrated into its hardware, the German carmaker worked with Aircharge to design the case to add on the capabilities and bring the convenience of wireless charging to BMW owners.

The case features a hard shell to protect the phone and a tactile finish, along with a total black look, and has engraved the BMW Group’s branding on the front and back.

All Aircharge case models carry the official 'Made for iPhone' MFi certification by Apple and are also certified to the global wireless charging standard Qi. The Aircharge case is currently available for iPhone 6, 6s, 6 Plus, 6s Plus, 5, 5s and SE models and can be purchased through BMW's online retail stores as well as high street shops.

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Tag: BMW

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Scania Announces CarPlay Integration Coming This Summer for Truck Drivers

Swedish truck and bus manufacturer Scania today announced that it will begin introducing Apple's CarPlay system into some of its heavy trucks beginning in June 2017, as well as revealing that some of its older model vehicles will be upgradeable with aftermarket CarPlay infotainment systems. Scania is among the first in the industry to introduce CarPlay into big rig trucks.

Scania trucks that come with a Scania Infotainment System and a voice control option will be able to support CarPlay, which functions by connecting to a nearby Apple iPhone through a USB cable -- or wirelessly in some vehicles -- and displaying relevant iOS information on Scania's 7-inch touch screen. This way, drivers can use Siri, call someone, listen to music, and navigate without being distracted from the road.


Scania believes that CarPlay will be particularly invaluable for truck drivers "who spend a lot of time behind the wheel." The specific Scania truck models that will be getting CarPlay this summer have not yet been announced.
“Scania’s infotainment system will work with Apple CarPlay, the smarter, safer way to use your iPhone while on the move,” says Björn Fahlström, Vice President, Product Management, Scania Trucks. “Apple CarPlay support is being introduced in June 2017, and earlier devices can be updated, provided that they have voice recognition. By intro­ducing this functionality, we will offer even more driver comfort and increased safety. For truck drivers, who spend a lot of time behind the wheel, everything that makes life on the road easier, simpler and safer is very much appreciated.”
Moving forward, the company said that it plans to continue to introduce CarPlay support into more of its trucks "in the near future." For the list of currently available CarPlay vehicles, check out Apple.com.

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Amazon Music iOS App Now Supports CarPlay

Amazon today updated its Amazon Music app for iOS devices to version 6.4.0, adding a small but important new feature: support for CarPlay.

With the latest version of the Amazon Music app, Amazon Music subscribers who own a vehicle equipped with CarPlay can access their music directly through the CarPlay interface when an iPhone is connected to the car.

Amazon Music is available to Amazon Prime subscribers, with two million songs, playlists, and stations included in a membership.

Separate Amazon Music Unlimited subscriptions are also available for on-demand listening to "tens of millions" of songs, with pricing starting at $7.99 for Prime members ($9.99 without a Prime subscription). A lower-cost Echo-only plan is also available for $3.99 per month.

Amazon Music can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

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Tags: Amazon, Amazon Music Unlimited

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Mazda Still Planning to Implement Support for CarPlay

Mazda is planning to add CarPlay and Android Auto support to its lineup of cars and SUVs according to an announcement made at a launch for its upcoming 2017 CX-5 (via Cars.com).

There's no word on when CarPlay will be added to Mazda vehicles, nor is there info on which vehicles will be the first to support CarPlay, but Mazda spokesperson Jacob Brown said the feature "should be retroactively upgradeable onto all Mazda Connect systems with a potentially minimal hardware addition needed."


Mazda Connect has been available in Mazda vehicles since 2014, which, coincidentally, is the year that Mazda first pledged support for CarPlay. Mazda has been listed as a CarPlay partner since shortly after CarPlay first debuted, but it has yet to release a CarPlay-compatible vehicle.

For a couple of years after CarPlay was announced, availability was highly limited as it required the cooperation of both automobile makers and third-party hardware companies, but as of late 2015, CarPlay availability has expanded rapidly.

Apple's CarPlay platform is now available in more than 200 2016 and 2017 vehicles from a range of manufacturers including Audi, BMW, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen, and more.

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Tag: Mazda

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Porsche and Honda Debut All-New CarPlay Compatible Sports Cars

Porsche and Honda today each announced new sports cars that will be compatible with Apple's CarPlay infotainment system. In its unveiling, Porsche detailed the all-new 2018 911 GT3 street-legal sports car with a 4.0 liter flat-six engine that produces up to 500 horsepower -- an engine based on the one used in all of Porsche's 911 race cars.


Other than CarPlay, the Porsche 911 GT3 has a navigation system that can detail real-time traffic information, and the vehicle's diagnostics can connect to the Porsche Track Precision App [Direct Link]. On a connected smartphone, drivers can analyze and record various pieces of data, like steering angle and braking pressure.

The 2017 Honda Civic Type R, which the company referred to as "one of the most anticipated models in its history," has a similar sports car build and marks the first Type R Honda model to be sold in the United States. The new Type R shares the style of the automaker's 5-door hatchback with a boost in performance, including a 4-cylinder engine with peak ratings of 306 horsepower.

"The fastest, most powerful Honda ever sold in America, the Type R caps off the incredible success story of our 10th generation Civic lineup," said Jeff Conrad, senior vice president & general manager of the Honda Division, American Honda Motor Co., Inc. "We're happy to inform our U.S. enthusiasts that the long wait for the forbidden fruit of Honda Type R performance is nearly over!"
The 2017 Civic Type R will come with a 7-inch Display Audio touchscreen that has Honda Navigation embedded in it, along with compatibility for both CarPlay and Android Auto. Honda also mentioned that the included 540-watt, 12-speaker audio system will be able to drown out the vehicle's engine.

In terms of pricing and availability, the 2018 Porsche 911 GT3 is scheduled to debut at U.S. dealerships in fall 2017 at a base MSRP of $143,600. The Honda Civic Type R is launching sometime in late spring 2017 with an MSRP in the mid-$30,000 range. Both suggested retail prices exclude the usual $1,050 delivery, processing, and handling fee.

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Tags: Porsche, Honda

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Harman Could Bring Wireless CarPlay to Audi, VW, Mercedes-Benz, Chrysler, and Other Automakers

Harman today announced that it has achieved the first-ever implementation of wireless CarPlay in vehicles. It said its infotainment system is currently being deployed for a luxury German automaker, which more than likely refers to BMW, the only automaker that currently supports wireless CarPlay as a built-in feature.


A number of BMW models have supported wireless CarPlay since late last year, and Harman's announcement comes just as the 2017 BMW 5 Series with wireless CarPlay hits the streets in the United States.

Harman did not disclose plans to roll out wireless CarPlay to other automakers, but it has business relationships with several vehicle manufacturers, including Volkswagen Group, Daimler, and FCA, so it is plausible that wireless CarPlay could expand to brands such as Audi, VW, Mercedes-Benz, Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep in the future.

Harman provided the following statement to MacRumors:
HARMAN is the renowned Tier 1 supplier of infotainment systems to global automakers. Our customers include Audi/VW, Daimler, BMW, Chrysler/FCA, and many others. HARMAN has pioneered the introduction of many Apple features in the past into car – iPod out, CarPlay, etc – as well as other "smart apps" such as Android Auto and Baidu CarLife, for automakers across the world.
Volkswagen actually wanted to demonstrate wireless CarPlay at CES 2016, but it said Apple blocked them from doing so for undisclosed reasons.

Due to confidentiality agreements, it is likely we will have to wait for each of these automakers to announce wireless CarPlay individually, but Harman and BMW have proven that it can be accomplished.

Apple introduced wireless CarPlay support in iOS 9, but the majority of current systems require connecting an iPhone to the vehicle with a Lightning to USB cable. Harman's system is the first to enable wireless implementation, with the iPhone connecting via Bluetooth and data transferring via Wi-Fi.

Last month, Alpine introduced the first aftermarket system with wireless CarPlay for do-it-yourself installations. The iLX-107 features a 7-inch capacitive touchscreen with LED backlighting, and it begins shipping this month for a suggested price of $900. Some resellers may offer it for cheaper as seen with other Alpine receivers.

CarPlay is available in over 200 vehicle models around the world, enabling drivers to make and receive calls, access text messages, play music, get directions, check traffic conditions, and more with Siri voice commands and on-screen controls. CarPlay requires an iPhone 5 or newer.

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Tag: HARMAN

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Jaguar and Shell Partnership Lets UK Drivers Use Apple Pay to Pay for Fuel Inside Car

Carmaker Jaguar today announced that a collection of its vehicles will support a new in-car cashless payment app that allows drivers to use Apple Pay to pay for fuel at Shell stations without having to use a traditional card payment at a pump. Drivers of the enhanced Jaguar F-PACE performance SUV, F-TYPE, XF and XE sports saloon model ranges -- and the latest Land Rover models -- will be able to take advantage of the app.


When drivers open the Shell app through Jaguar's InControl infotainment system, it can guide them to the nearest station. Once they get there, they can type in which pump station they're at, select how much fuel they need, and choose between Apple Pay and PayPal to complete the process. Although unconfirmed by Jaguar and Shell, it appears that drivers will have to set up a 5-digit passcode in the app which will enable authorization with connected Apple Pay and PayPal accounts.

An electronic email will automatically be sent so accounting expenses can be tallied up at a later date. Support is currently focused only in the United Kingdom, but the company said that the app will be rolling out globally soon.
"In a world where cash is no longer king, customers are increasingly using electronic payments and contactless cards. Making a payment directly from a car’s touchscreen will make refuelling quicker and easier. With this new system you can choose any pump on the forecourt and pay for the fuel even if you’ve forgotten your wallet or can’t find your credit or debit card.

You will save time because there’s no more queuing to pay in a shop, and for drivers with children, it won’t be necessary to wake them up, or unstrap them from their seats to take them into the shop. Expenses and tax returns will also be made much simpler, with no receipts to lose as these will all be sent electronically," said Peter Virk, director of connected car and future technology
The Shell app is part of a few enhancements that Jaguar announced to its F-PACE, XE, and XF models today, including new gesture technology to make it easier to open the vehicle's trunk, as well as the latest efficient Ingenium petrol and diesel engines. Jaguar's announcement focused on Apple Pay and PayPal, but the company confirmed that it's working on adding Android Pay support for fuel payments "later in 2017."

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Tag: Jaguar

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