Apple CarPlay users want to go wireless
When Alpine first announced the iLX-007 in September 2014, everyone seemed to notice the “Wifi Enabled” feature displayed on the packaging and press release. There was very little information from Alpine at the time other than an assumption that the currently useless feature would eventually lead to a wireless version of Apple CarPlay.
However, if and when that would ever happen was anyone’s guess. It seemed to be a decision that was at the hands of Apple. Yet, just last week at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference an announcement was made that CarPlay was going wireless. So where does this leave Alpine iLX users?
One my readers from Europe received this rather disheartening response from Alpine UK regarding wireless CarPlay on the iLX-700. With the announcement that iOS9 would contain wireless CarPlay ability, Paul emailed Alpine UK asking if there would be an update. Here was the response he received:
“From: AOUK Gait
Date: 10 June 2015 08:07:23 BST
Subject: Re: Fwd: iLX-700
Good Morning Paul
I’m afraid not, the Wifi Chip was only in the first production units and is no longer in the ILX-700, this feature will not be possible on the ILX-700
Well, I can’t speak for what Alpine is doing in the UK, but I did speak with my Alpine rep regarding the iLX-007 and here is what he knew about the situation. His understanding is that Apple changed the wireless CarPlay protocol after Alpine already built in the WiFi feature. So the rumor here is that you need to have both Bluetooth AND Wifi to make Apple CarPlay work wirelessly. The other tidbit of information he gave me is that Alpine didn’t stop building WiFi into the iLX-007, they just stopped listing the feature on the box until they figured out what Apple was doing. I’m wondering if the response Paul got was just some corporate BS reply.
I’ve been told that Alpine is coming up with a solution and it will most likely be a Bluetooth dongle that connects to the USB which will add the Bluetooth necessary for wireless CarPlay. I assume there will probably also be a software update for the unit too. There is no ETA on this Wireless CarPlay dongle at this time. Additionally, I wonder if Pioneer will follow suit and create a USB WiFi dongle to allow wireless CarPlay with their models.
Either way, I think wireless CarPlay will be a huge hit. When I show a customer Apple CarPlay for the first time, that is the first question they always have, “Does it have to be connected?”. Apparently we all want everything to work wirelessly. Once Alpine figures it out, I think wireless CarPlay will be a huge hit.