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Apple CarPlay release date, price and features. Plus: Pioneer and Alpine aftermarket headunits

Apple's new CarPlay system can also be installed in your current car

Apple CarPlay on Pioneer AVIC-F60DAB

What is Apple CarPlay?

Apple CarPlay allows you to safely use iOS in the car by connecting any iPhone with a Lightning connector to a comaptible car stereo. Here's what you need to know including release date, price, features, compatible cars, compatible iPhone, how you can get it and what it can do.

Apple announced CarPlay at the Geneva International Motor Show where it said the iPhone in the car system will make driving 'smarter, safer and more fun'. See also: Parrot Asteroid Smart review: an Android infotainment system to make your dumb car smart.

In the same way Apple's AirPlay is a method of connecting iOS devices to products like speakers and the Apple TV, CarPlay is a way of connecting your iPhone to your car.

"CarPlay has been designed from the ground up to provide drivers with an incredible experience using their iPhone in the car," said Greg Joswiak, vice president of iPhone and iOS product marketing at Apple.

"iPhone users always want their content at their fingertips and CarPlay lets drivers use their iPhone in the car with minimized distraction. We have an amazing lineup of auto partners rolling out CarPlay, and we’re thrilled it will make its debut this week in Geneva."

Read: Google aims to standardise car tech with Android-based Open Automotive Alliance: rivals Apple iOS in the Car.

How do I get Apple CarPlay?

To get Apple CarPlay you'll need two things – a compatible iPhone and a car with a built-in infotainment unit supporting CarPlay.

Fortunately, you won't have a buy a new car. Pioneer and Alpine have both already announced that their multimedia systems will support CarPlay in 2014.

Five of Pioneer's existing headunits will get a firmware update in "early summer" which will add CarPlay support for free. These include the AVIC-F60DAB, AVIC-F960DAB, AVIC-F960BT, AVIC-F860BT and AVH-X8600BT. Prices range from around £550 to £1,199, plus any installation charges. CarPlay will launch automatically on the display when you connect your iPhone via your own Lightning-to-USB cable.

Alpine has also announced it will support CarPlay, but there's no word on whether existing models might get it via a firmware update. The new systems will launch in "fall 2014" but there's also no word on pricing.

There are rumours that Clarion and JVC are looking to launch systems with CarPlay, but Kenwood has already said that there will be no receivers with CarPlay until at least 2015. Representatives from the company pointed out that a subset of CarPlay features were already supported by its systems, such as Siri and music playback.

Apple CarPlay iPhone in the car

When will Apple CarPlay be released?

Apple has already added CarPlay as an update to iOS 7. This means your iPhone will need to be running iOS 7.1 or later to use CarPlay. However, without a compatible in-car system, you won't be able to use any of CarPlay's features.

Which iPhones have CarPlay?

Apple has confirmed that CarPlay will compatible with all its smartphones with a Lightning connector. So you'll need an iPhone 5SiPhone 5C or an iPhone 5.

Which cars will support CarPlay?

Manufacturers which will launch CarPlay compatible models this year are: Ferrari, Honda, Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo.

CarPlay 2014 Ferrari Honda Hyundai Mercedes Volvo

Other manufacturers which are committed to CarPlay enabled vehicles in the future are: BMW, Chevrolet, Ford, Kia, Land Rover, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Opel, Peugeot Citroen, Subaru, Suzuki and Toyota.

CarPlay 2015 Ford BMW Jaguar Kia

How does Apple CarPlay work?

With a compatible iPhone connected to a car with CarPlay, you can use some features of the iPhone using the car's built-in screen. It's controlled with voice, touchscreen or buttons which are linked to the screen. It means you can use features of the iPhone using the car's built-in system. Check out: Infotainment systems: Should cars have apps or should they stay on your smartphone.

Apple CarPlay controls

What does Apple CarPlay do?

As is stands, CarPlay can perform a few important functions with your iPhone while you're driving. There is potential for more in the future but we've answered what CarPlay can do in the following questions.

Can I send and receive messages with CarPlay?

The hands-free experience means that Siri will read incoming messages and notifications and allow the user to respond with their voice.

Apple CarPlay Messages

Can I make and receive calls with CarPlay?

Like messaging, Siri can help you with your calls while you're driving. You can make calls, return missed called and check your voicemail, all hands-free.

Apple CarPlay Phone

Does Apple CarPlay come with a Satnav?

CarPlay uses Apple Maps as its satellite navigation system provide navigation instructions (optionally read by Siri), traffic conditions and your estimated time of arrival. Maps can supposedly anticipate your destination based on recent trips via contacts, emails or texts.

Read: I fear the Apple-controlled car.

I fear the Apple-controlled car

Apple CarPlay Maps navigation

What music services does CarPlay support?

Listening to music, podcasts and radio can be done on CarPlay via various services. Apple has said more will be added in the future but at the time of writing they include iTunes Radio, Podcasts, Beats Music, iHeartRadio, Spotify and Stitcher.

Apple CarPlay Music

You can select music with the car's controls or tell Siri what you want to be played.

Can I play videos on Apple CarPlay?

As is stands this is not a supported feature of CarPlay but is something which Apple may decide to add later.

If you have more questions about CarPlay, let us know in the comments section below.

Follow Chris Martin and @PCAdvisor on Twitter.


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