Leave your iPhone in your pocket and still enjoy all of CarPlay's useful features.
Apple CarPlay offers an easy way to pair the media on your phone with a vehicle’s infotainment system. However, one of the system’s major downsides is that the iPhone must be plugged into the head unit via a cable, which can be a hassle. Alpine is the first company to solve this problem for drivers with the launch of the company’s $1,199.99 iLX-107 in-dash receiver.
The aftermarket, seven-inch touchscreen display interfaces with Apple CarPlay over a 5 gigahertz Wi-fi signal. After an initial setup, the receiver will automatically connect whenever the iPhone is within range. All of CarPlay’s features remain available, including using the phone, texting, playing music, and getting directions. Siri’s voice commands also work.
The iLX-107 also has an aux input for plugging in other devices, and it comes pre-wired to accept a rear view camera, although the camera is sold separately. Additional extras like the iDatalink Maestro allow select vehicle's gauges to appear on the screen, and the $429 External Accessory Controller lets owners control items like an external light bar or motorized tonneau cover.
Alpine debuted the iLX-107 at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show. The device won an Innovations Award for outstanding design and engineering in the In-Vehicle Audio/Video category.
Expect automakers to begin offering wireless CarPlay connectivity soon. For example, Harman has developed a way (above) to do it through a combination of Wi-fi and Bluetooth. The company said that it would debut first in models from a “luxury German automaker,” and promotional images showed the tech at work in a BMW.
Apple is currently working to make you safer while driving with an iPhone. For example, a new feature in iOS 11 is the Do Not Disturb While Driving mode that activates when the phone is in a car (and CarPlay is not connected). It mutes incoming notifications and doesn't allow the driver to send text messages.