Our ICE car this issue might be fully equipped with Pioneer goodness, but you will only appreicate its full capabilities when you get cozy in the driver’s cockpit. This time, we were handed an opportunity to play around with its flagship AVH-X8750BT in-dash car multimedia receiver, integrated with Apple CarPlay.
First things first. This multimedia receiver in itself is already one force to be reckoned with. It packs plenty of features – more than sufficient to satisfy the most critical audiophile. But with the annoucement that this headunit is ready to incorporate Apple CarPlay into the system, we reckon that this could very well be the driving force, setting the stage for seamless connectivity for every user.
When your iPhone (5 or later) is plugged into the headunit, you will be greeted with an all-familiar display. Basically, what you will observe on the 7-inch WVGA new clear type touch screen display is strikingly similar to what you are used to on an iPhone. Toggling with the screens via the horizontal swiping action is strikingly similar to an iPhone, too. The distinctive “Phone”, “Music”, Maps”, and “Messages” icon shows up on the screen, just like what you will enjoy the moment you turn on your iPhone for the first time.
The appeal is certainly in place – a clutter-free layout dominates the entire user experience. But what lurks beneath the screen reveals more options to make every drive a fuss free affair. There’s plenty to mention with Apple CarPlay, but what’s important to emphasise will be how this is geared towards providing the driver with a hands-free experience. Siri is on hand (literally!) to attend to your needs. Simply activate it by speaking “Hey Siri”, and the microphone detects your instructions to follow – from reading out an unopened message, or inserting a route to the nearest Starbucks café.
Our test route involved a spin within the congested radius of Marine Parade, and its refreshing to know how the Maps function managed to identify your every move to supply voiced instructions with pin-point accuracy. Even when we made a wrong turn, its hunts for an alternative route immediately. It’s the responsiveness of its voiced instructions that allowed me to keep both hands on the steering wheel and both eyes glued on the road. This makes it such a compelling and intuitive package, regardless of the amount of information being fed to it.
We reckon that what Pioneer and Apple has done here fills the gap in every drive. Connectivity can be utilised in a car, but the learning curve might be steep for other softwares. What’s important here is the introduction of a very familiar interface and with Apple CarPlay, you’re literally bringing the magic of Apple’s ease of use right into the mobile media functionality of Pioneer. A marriage of sorts that we reckon will only reap positive rewards in the long run!