We may well have seen the next iPhone’s back shell, front panel, SIM tray and even its cabling. Why not round it out with what might be the motherboard? A WeiPhone forum goer who slipped out the iPhone 4S’ board last year is back with the 2012 update’s potential new heart. While the tipster hasn’t been courteous enough to do a side-by-side with the older component, repair shop iDeviceGuys notes to 9to5 Mac that the newer part isn’t just a carbon copy; that smaller SIM slot (what you see in the middle) is one of the bigger giveaways. The real treat may be the extra wireless antenna connections. They aren’t any surefire signs of 4G, but the antenna links suggest Apple isn’t content with what the iPhone 4S has to offer. We’re mostly left wondering about what’s under that shielding — it’s a mystery as to whether or not the next iPhone’s processor speed bump is a mountain or a molehill. Barring one more peek, we could get the full scoop next month.
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Sure, we may not see flying cars in our lifetime, but a mainstream digital dash is a definite possibility. The all-glass vehicle dashboard has been conceptualized by other manufacturers in the past, but this year it’s Panasonic’s turn to try its hand at building a multi-display system. The electronics maker brought its Cockpit prototype to the CEATEC floor, causing quite a stir among passersby. The dash itself was little more than a semi-functional mockup, presenting recorded rendered video on the main 20-inch LCD and dual 10.4-inch secondary displays. The main display’s current objective appears to be improving safety, using a series of cameras to eliminate blind spots and alert drivers to other road hazards. Real-time driving stats are displayed atop a video feed, either from the rear camera (when in reverse), or one up front.
We spent a few minutes behind the wheel of Panasonic’s mockup, which consisted only of a pair of (rather comfortable) leather seats, along with a trio of LCDs, which the company claims are currently based on panels used in other Panasonic products, but may eventually utilize custom displays. This wasn’t an actual vehicle prototype — only the “cockpit” was on hand. The main display will (hopefully) focus the driver’s attention away from distractions on those two smaller screens — the one in the center can be used to control standard vehicle settings like climate and entertainment, while a second display positioned directly in front of the passenger seat can play movies and other content.
Are we there yet? No, so you better get comfortable for the long drive ahead. Overall the setup looked like it could have potential, though Panasonic warned us not to expect anything final until the end of the decade (2018 at the earliest). Jump past the break for a Cockpit drive-by.
Gallery: Panasonic Cockpit LCD Dash hands-on
Continue reading Panasonic Cockpit digital dash prototype hands-on (video)
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Here it is, ladies and nerds: the Pioneer AppRadio. As the name implies it’s centered around applications in a smartphone-ish sort of way. All the big boys are here: RDIO, Pandora, and Google Maps along with the driver-centric apps of INRIX and MotionX-GPS Drive. This is possible through the Pioneer AppRadio iOS app that serves up data and app access to the head-unit from a connected iPhone or iPod touch. It lacks the native iOS support we had incorrectly heard it has, but features enough compelling features to earn a good deal of respect.
The aftermarket audio scene has been somewhat stagnant over the last decade. The biggest innovation was navigation and perhaps the addition of a USB host, but GUIs and even prices have stayed about the same. Pioneer has a real chance with the AppRadio to push the rest of the industry into embracing connected data and, in a way, learn to take a back seat to the smartphone by servering a more companion role — as it should be.
A WVGA (800 x 480) 6.1-inch capacitive multitouch serves up all the action. But there’s nothing behind it. The screen doesn’t flip down to reveal a fancy iPhone dock or even an optical drive. iPhones and iPod touches connect to the unit through a Dock Connector cable that hooks into the rear of the radio so it’s up to the installer to hide this wire.
Updates and more apps come by way of a Pioneer iOS app. When an iDevice is connected it unlocks all the wonders of Google Maps including search, routing, directions and even drop pins bookmarks. The iDevice serves up reformated apps to the AppRadio and Pioneer wrangled several popular apps to hit the device at launch and custom versions of RDIO and Pandora are currently available.
This iDevice dependency comes at a price, though. While the AppRadio can certainly stand on its own without a connected device, it loses most of its appeal. Also, Android owners need not apply. Pioneer isn’t servering their kind as Bluetooth connectivity seems only for phone functions and not for streaming content or data connectivity sharing. The AppRadio doesn’t have an optical drive and I worry about the capacitive screen handling direct sunlight. Still, the AppRadio is a welcomed addition to the car audio aftermarket scene.
Pioneer hasn’t announced the price or exact release date yet, but the press announcement states that the “AppRadio will be available in late June with a suggested retail price below $ 500.”
Side note: big props to our graphic guy Bryce for making a nearly accurate hardware rendering based on blurry FCC pics and several emails from a tester. The OS is clearly wrong, but he nailed the button design.
Pioneer is about ready to launch a car audio head unit that features an GUI remarkable similar to iOS, complete with apps, iTunes, and iPhone connectivity.
Meet the Pioneer AppRadio, model number SPH-DA01. This unannounced double-din head unit hit the FCC database yesterday and a tipster wrote in to answer many of our questions. Obviously, given the name, this is a radio designed around iPhone and iPod. The UI features homescreens, each with two rows of three app icons each. (like the mock-up shows) We hear it feels “exactly like the iOS experience” but since it doesn’t actually run iOS we’re mighty curious how the AppRadio will sit with Apple corporate.
iOS 4.1 devices (read: no Android or WinMo devices) connect to the AppRadio through a traditional USB Dock Connector cable and feeds the deck the phone’s contacts and music. Streaming apps are part of the system as our tipster saw live demos of Pandora and iHeartRadio and also mentions that social media apps are going to be part of the system. Although not specifically mentioned by our tipster, the iPhone must also provide the internet data stream as the FCC docs doesn’t mention any wireless radios.
The hardware looks a lot like an Apple device with a home button mounted under a glossy multitouch, capacitive 6.1-inch screen with a volume rocker mounted on the driver’s side. The Dock Connector cable plugs into a USB port on a rear-connecting cable adapter that also features an S-Video and RCA jack. There’s even an optional steering wheel-mounted control unit for controlling media playback.
The Pioneer head unit seems to feature most standard radio functions besides an optical drive. There is, however, a microsSD card slot, Bluetooth connectivity, AM/FM, GPS, and the ability to hook up a rear view camera. Satellite and HD radio were not mentioned but it seems unlikely given their standard nature this unit will launch without at least one — unless keeping the price low is paramount.
We hear that users will be able to add different apps on the radio, but not the exact process involved. It will likely be done through a microSD card, although a Pioneer iOS app could also serve up the apps as long as Apple approves.
Pioneer demoed PAIS, Platform for the Aggregation of Internet Services, at CES 2011. That system is designed to allow consumers to share data and internet connection across multiple devices, regardless of manufacturer. It’s a novel platform, but doesn’t seem to be in use here. The AppRadio lacks any sort of 802.11x radio and uses a 500Mhz NetLogic Microsystem Au1210 CPU, where PAIS is designed around the Intel Atom. Besides, the AppRadio doesn’t fit the description of different platforms talking together. This is all about iOS here.
Pioneer is clearly trying something new here with the fresh interface and lack of optical drive. If priced right, the AppRadio might be the savior of the dying aftermarket audio market. Companies like Pioneer, Kenwood, and Alpine all know how to make killer hardware, but the software is often horrible. Taking iOS’ styling cues and navigation paths sounds like lawsuit bait, but at least the deck will be pretty.
[special thanks to Bryce, our graphical ninja for the mockup]
SoundManCarAudio.com Check out the new iPad 2 become the sickest vehicle navigation system. Doug Bernards takes a brand new Ford F150 and guts the Microsoft Sync system, and replaces it with a fresh iPad 2. To see more iPad installations, watch our “Amplified” web show. Facetime video conferencing in your car. Video Rating: 4 / 5Related Posts:
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Hulu Plus is now streaming to the 7-inch Sony Dash. Yeah, I’m somewhat surprised too. But it somewhat makes sense for both products when you get down to it.
Sony wants to build up a rich application suite for the Dash. Throw in a little something for everyone if you will. It’s marketed as a desktop widget device — or something like that. Most owners who keep their Dashes on bedside tables might not want to stream Hulu when they probably have a TV in the bedroom. But think about those Dash units that are sitting on desks. Netflix and Amazon VOD already streams content to the device. Now Hulu Plus is available as well, giving owners more options and choices.
But the move to bring Hulu Plus to the Sony Dash is more significant for Hulu than Sony.
Hulu, backed by various media companies and networks, is under fire as of late for blocking their full website on certain devices like the Google TV, Android, and probably the Boxee Box. It needs to show CE makers that there’s a viable alternative and the $ 10 a month Hulu Plus is scalable, workable solution that doesn’t require any special hardware. Putting the service in the little $ 169 Sony Dash Personal Internet Viewer does just that. If nothing else, it’s a proof of concept and a marketing tool for Hulu in the same way getting Netflix on various platforms was for that service a couple years ago.
It’s just a shame that the Internet cannot be the Internet no matter what device dials up the webpage. Right now in 2010, there’s a clear line between computer and Internet streamer, but said line will blur and nearly dissapear over the next year. Media companies won’t change their ways. Why would they ignore new revenue streams. Instead, consumers will end up either giving up and paying for content that was previously free or turn to the shady side of the Internet and start downloading illegally.
The Sony Dash gets a bit of a bum wrap. Sure, we wish it was a little more tablet, a little less alarm clock, but Justin Bieber loves his. You know what else The Biebs likes? Cutting cable! Now that Hulu Plus is on his Sony Dash he can totally kick Time Warner to the curb, which is worthy of a trending Twitter topic if we ever saw one. He’s too young for HBO, anyway.
Continue reading Hulu Plus comes to the Sony Dash, Justin Bieber is so stoked
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