Apple has been actively working to get CarPlay, its iOS-based in-car infotainment system, into high-end 2014 vehicles — partners include Ferrari, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz, and Volvo. But what if a new car isn't on your shopping list this year? According to a report from Nikkei, your existing car could be in line for a CarPlay upgrade later this year.
Apple is reportedly working with Alpine Electronics to develop an aftermarket CarPlay system for drivers looking to upgrade their existing cars. That would make Alpine the first company to offer an aftermarket CarPlay product. The system is expected to launch first in the United States and Europe, in the second half of 2014. It will reportedly cost between $500 to $700.
According to reports, Alpine's CarPlay product will feature a 7-inch display and require a wired connection to an iPhone 5 (or later) device running iOS 7. Users will be able to access messages, make calls, and play music via voice commands.
Alpine's solution will be an early test of the true demand for services like CarPlay. If the company pushes a lot of units, we could see more manufacturers of aftermarket entertainment systems build CarPlay products. (In fact, MacRumors notes that Clarion may also be working on an aftermarket CarPlay system.) This would likely drive the price of these products below $500, making them a much more compelling purchase for many users.
Of course, the competition in this market is quickly heating up as we move toward the Internet of Things. In January, Google formed the Open Automotive Alliance with GM, Audi, Hyundai, Honda and Nvidia, with the goal of bringing Android-based in-car infotainment solutions to market by the end of 2014. Soon, either CarPlay or Android will be as common in new cars as power steering, and if Alpine's work with Apple bears fruit, your old beater could get a bite of the action as well.
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