Pioneer is set to bring a touch-screen car receiver to market that will integrate seamlessly with your iPhone or iPod touch. This either sounds like a great idea or the most distracting in-dash system ever manufactured. The AppRadio features a 6.1-inch 800 x 640 pixel resolution multi-touch display, Bluetooth connectivity for hands-free calling and an AM/FM radio. The real magic happens when you plug in your iPhone 4 or iPod touch 4th generation and start the vehicle.
Apps that have been modified to display on the AppRadio can be used directly on the Pioneer unit. Initial partnerships with app developers include Inrix Traffic, Motion-X GPS Drive, and Pandora and Rdio streaming music apps. More are sure to come on board, as the modifications required for an app to run on the AppRadio are relatively minor.
When it comes to distracted driving, some apps will have features that are locked out when the car is in motion. Creating radio stations and searching for music are shut off in two examples of limitations imposed on the iPhone apps when driving. The AppRadio has a capacitive touch screen just like the iPhone, reportedly the first such device designed for in-dash use.
Pioneer includes a video connection for optional rear-view camera input as well as a GPS antenna to help improve signal strength in the iPhone's location services. What the AppRadio lacks is an auxillary audio input and an actual CD player. Presumably you won't need either of these if you plug your iPhone into the 30-pin dock connector and have it loaded with music, apps and acquire a good 3G cellular data connection. The AppRadio will debut in late June for under $500 retail.