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Pioneer adds iPhone 5 support to AppRadio

Ironically, it was adding Android support to the AppRadio that helped Pioneer to tame Apple's new Lightning connector.

Pioneer AppRadio 2
Antuan Goodwin/CNET

LAS VEGAS--When Apple switched from the 30-pin dock connector to the new Lightning connector for the iPhone 5, it threw a pretty big monkey wrench into many aftermarket and OEM car stereos that relied on the old connection method, including Pioneer's AppRadio. At CES 2013, Pioneer has just found a way around the connectivity issue with a kit that adds iPhone 5 app connectivity and video output to its AppRadio receivers.

Interestingly, it was the manufacturer's previous efforts to add Android connectivity to the AppRadio through MHL or HDMI that proved to be the key to solving the Lightning connector conundrum -- Pioneer's iPhone 5 connectivity method is all but identical to its Android method. To use the iPhone 5, the AppRadio requires Apple's Lightning-to-Digital-AV cable and a Lightning-to-USB adapter connected to a new CD-IH202 connectivity kit, which links to the same digital connections on the AppRadio as the Pioneer's Android MHL connectivity kit. Meanwhile, a Bluetooth connection transmits X&Y touch coordinates from the AppRadio's touch screen to the AppRadio app running on the iPhone 5 to enable bidirectional communication between the two devices.

Pioneer also announced a few new apps with AppRadio compatibility, including Beej, Glympse, Parkopedia, Rdio Internet Radio, iHeartRadio for Auto, and Maxthon Cloud Browser.

Finally, the manufacturer announced that it was expanding its Advanced App mode for its AVIC navigation receivers and AVH video receivers to support the new iPhone 5 connectivity and renaming the feature AppRadio Mode to make it easier for consumers understand and more consistent with the rest of its product line.

Expect the new iPhone 5 CD-IH202 connectivity kits to be available this spring alongside a firmware update to the current AppRadio 2 hardware to support the new function.