Tag - Infotainment
Apple's in-car technology that integrates the iPhone with a built-in infotainment system, CarPlay, has been named as "best individual technology feature in a vehicle" during the North American International Auto Show, held in Detroit. CarPlay won out ahead of Google's Android Auto, Ford's Sync 3, and a variety of competing systems. The technology has -- two years after its debut -- picked up a lot of support recently from slow-moving automakers, and is appearing in many model-year 2016 and 2017 vehicles.
Hyundai has revealed that it will launch its 2017 Elantra with both Apple CarPlay and Google's Android Auto support, along with adding a second USB port to the car in order to facilitate charging other devices while the iPhone or Android device is connected to the infotainment system. The company also said it will announce other models to gain CarPlay and Android Auto support, and hinted that some current model year owners may be able to add the technology to their existing vehicles.
Following an announcement at CES in Las Vegas by aftermarket infotainment system maker Pioneer, rival Kenwood has announced a revamping of its double-DIN multimedia receiver line. The firm revealed 15 new models, 12 of which replace a previous model in its Kenwood or eXcelon model lines. The big change that prompted the whole-line revamp was a processor upgrade, said the company, which improved stability and faster startup, along with a new native user interface, new shortcuts, and new solid-state memory that helps to double data-transfer speeds.
First introduced in mid-2013, Apple's CarPlay interface -- which supplements vehicles' built-in infotainment and navigation systems with a car-safe version of iOS and Siri technology -- is finally to be widely available in most US new car models starting with the 2016 model year, which is rolling out to dealers now. In most cases, compatibility with CarPlay -- and, to a lesser extent, Android Auto -- will be a standard feature in cars with built-in navigation systems, but in some cases will be considered a standalone feature that is added to entertainment upgrade packages.
Porsche has opted to support only Apple's CarPlay infotainment technology in its latest 911 Carrera and Carrera S models, blocking Android Auto support chiefly because Google demands detailed information from the vehicle's onboard diagnostics unit that is then sent to Google, compared to Apple's need only for the Powertrain Control Module (PCM) to tell CarPlay if the car is in motion. The carmaker was reportedly unhappy with Google's need to collect intricate data on the car's performance for no apparent reason.
As promised roughly a year after CarPlay was unveiled, German car maker Volkswagen is now shipping automobiles that include a next-generation infotainment system called MIB-II that includes support for both CarPlay and Android Auto along with its own proprietary suite of Car-Net apps, the latter of which requires a subscription. The company says that all but its entry-level models will feature the new MIB-II system.
CarPlay has been a long time coming to cars consumers can actually buy, but the infotainment and mobile app technology has finally started arriving to consumer showrooms. Though it has been promoted in forthcoming vehicles for well over a year, currently the Ferrari FF is the only vehicle at dealers now with Apple's technology baked in. This month, however, that changes -- as General Motors is now producing the Corvette Z06 and the 2016 Cruz.
BlackBerry's QNX division has brought a modified Maserati Quattroporte to CES, demonstrating the company's vision for safety and infotainment technology. The sedan has been outfitted with a bevy of cameras, LiDAR equipment, ultrasonic sensors, a digital instrument cluster, a gigantic infotainment touchscreen, and additional displays that function as side- and rear-view mirrors.
Ford recently introduced Sync 3, an entirely new infotainment system that serves as a successor to the oft-derided MyFord Touch platform. Electronista stopped by the company's CES booth to try out the revamped interface in person, ahead of its official launch on new models later this year.
Apple has issued a statement criticizing a study conducted by the University of Utah for the American Automobile Association in October that rated Apple's Siri (and other naturalistic voice-command virtual assistants by proxy) as "the most" distracting in-car task compared to just driving, adjusting the car's radio or temperature, or using built-in car navigation or infotainment systems. In its response, Apple points out some serious flaws in the study, including the fact that it deliberately avoided using the driving-specific Siri Eyes Free or CarPlay options.
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Cirrus creates Lightning-headphone dev kit
Apple supplier Cirrus Logic has introduced a MFi-compliant new development kit for companies interested in using Cirrus' chips to create Lightning-based headphones, which -- regardless of whether rumors about Apple dropping the analog headphone jack in its iPhone this fall -- can offer advantages to music-loving iOS device users. The kit mentions some of the advantages of an all-digital headset or headphone connector, including higher-bitrate support, a more customizable experience, and support for power and data transfer into headphone hardware. Several companies already make Lightning headphones, and Apple has supported the concept since June 2014. http://bit.ly/29giiZj
Apple Store app offers Procreate Pocket
The Apple Store app for iPhone, which periodically rewards users with free app gifts, is now offering the iPhone "Pocket" version of drawing app Procreate for those who have the free Apple Store app until July 28. Users who have redeemed the offer by navigating to the "Stores" tab of the app and swiping past the "iPhone Upgrade Program" banner to the "Procreate" banner have noted that only the limited Pocket (iPhone) version of the app is available free, even if the Apple Store app is installed and the offer redeemed on an iPad. The Pocket version currently sells for $3 on the iOS App Store. [32.4MB]
Porsche adds CarPlay to 2017 Panamera
Porsche has added a fifth model of vehicle to its CarPlay-supported lineup, announcing that the 2017 Panamera -- which will arrive in the US in January -- will include Apple's infotainment technology, and be seen on a giant 12.3-inch touchscreen as part of an all-new Porsche Communication Management system. The luxury sedan starts at $99,900 for the 4S model, and scales up to the Panamera Turbo, which sells for $146,900. Other vehicles that currently support CarPlay include the 2016 911 and the 2017 models of Macan, 718 Boxster, and 718 Cayman. The company did not mention support for Google's corresponding Android Auto in its announcement. http://bit.ly/295ZQ94
Apple employees testing wheelchair features
New features included in the forthcoming watchOS 3 are being tested by Apple retail store employees, including a new activity-tracking feature that has been designed with wheelchair users in mind. The move is slightly unusual in that, while retail employees have previously been used to test pre-release versions of OS X and iOS, this marks the first time they've been included in the otherwise developer-only watchOS betas. The company is said to have gone to great lengths to modify the activity tracker for wheelchair users, including changing the "time to stand" notification to "time to roll" and including two wheelchair-centric workout apps. http://bit.ly/2955JDa
SanDisk reveals two 256GB microSDXC cards
SanDisk has introduced two 256GB microSDXC cards. Arriving in August for $150, the Ultra microSDXC UHS-I Premium Edition card offers transfer speeds of up to 95MB/s for reading data. The Extreme microSDXC UHS-I card can read at a fast 100MB/s and write at up to 90MB/s, and will be shipping sometime in the fourth quarter for $200. http://bit.ly/294Q1If
Apple's third-quarter results due July 26
Apple has advised it will be issuing its third-quarter results on July 26, with a conference call to answer investor and analyst queries about the earnings set to take place later that day. The stream of the call will go live at 2pm PT (5pm ET) via Apple's investor site, with the results themselves expected to be released roughly 30 minutes before the call commences. Apple's guidance for the quarter put revenue at between $41 billion and $43 billion. http://apple.co/1oi1Pbm
Twitter stickers slowly roll out to users
Twitter has introduced "stickers," allowing users to add extra graphical elements to their photos before uploading them to the micro-blogging service. A library of hundreds of accessories, props, and emoji will be available to use as stickers, which can be resized, rotated, and placed anywhere on the photograph. Images with stickers will also become searchable with viewers able to select a sticker to see how others use the same graphic in their own posts. Twitter advises stickers will be rolling out to users over the next few weeks, and will work on both the mobile apps and through the browser. http://bit.ly/29bbwUE