I’ve just come back from a long trip in my car. I’ve decided I have good reasons for choosing Apple Carplay. I went to Les Angles which is on the French side of the Pyrenees. It was about 300 km and was basically a drive to Perpignan and turn left on the road towards Andorra. An interesting drive up the mountain to get to the camping site by the lake to rent a lovely wood cabin. It’s like a home from home where the dog gets lots of freedom walks in the forest and we all get plenty of fresh mountain air. During the journey I was able to use my iPhone for the GPS navigation. The last time we went on this trip I wasn’t able to because of the cost of roaming with the phone in France. Since June of this year there are no roaming charges so I could use my phone just as if I was still in Spain. This was also useful because the GPS unit in the car doesn’t have the maps for France. This is a bit of a surprise since we are so close to the border and the car is a French made car, a Renault Clio. So it was really useful to have my iPhone technology to help me while driving. Today I’ve gone one step further and I’ve ordered a Pioneer Carplay head unit.
Installing a Pioneer Apple Carplay in a Renault Clio
In the box for the Pioneer SPH–DA120 apart from the unit and the cradle it fits into, there is a GPS antenna and a couple of other bits and pieces. For the connection to the car it’s necessary to get the wires to connect up the steering wheel controls. Pioneer make a cable specifically for this purpose which you have to pay extra for. It’s another €100, but while searching for this cable I found a company selling the same thing for a little bit cheaper. So I ordered that and hopefully it won’t take too long to arrive after the Pioneer Apple Carplay radio unit arrives this Friday. It will also take an input from a rear view camera so I ordered one of those as well. The rear window of the Renault Clio is a little bit small and so useful to have a good view out of the back with video. Another good reason for choosing Apple Carplay.
Why get Apple Carplay?
With the standard radio that comes with the Renault Clio I’m able to connect my iPhone using Bluetooth or with the cable. The problem is that it doesn’t really work if I want to use Siri commands to do things. This is why I’m choosing Apple Carplay. Last week, for example I was driving into the city and I wanted to let my wife know I was nearly at the destination to pick her up. I don’t want to pick up the phone and make messages while driving because that’s dangerous. So I should be able to start Siri and do what I need to do. Basically, it just does not work. On the screen of the Renault head unit which comes with a car it shows the screen as if I was trying to make a phone call. I don’t want to make a phone call, I want to send a text message. If I want to make a phone call with the iPhone connected, once again Siri doesn’t work for me with this device.
A Better View of the Maps
A larger view of the maps will be possible with the Pioneer Apple Carplay unit. It isn’t too bad on a iPhone 7+ with a larger screen if I want to see the maps while driving. It will be better though if I have the even larger screen in the dash. I’ll also be able to use Siri to find places and set up the navigation. The only problem I run into will be the ability of Siri to understand the Spanish names of places. We often laugh ourselves silly listening to the English version of Siri pronouncing the Spanish names badly. I suppose at some point in time on have to change to the Spanish version of Siri and speak only Spanish to my Apple AI device. Then it will depend upon whether my Spanish pronunciation is good enough. It probably won’t be considering the difficulty Siri has in understanding my Spanish wife speaking English to it.
Another advantage of having the larger screen with the Apple Carplay device in the car will be the ability to zoom in with a pinch. The device I have in the car presently doesn’t allow zooming in using the pinch gesture. Neither does it allow me to scroll by swiping across the screen. To scroll through anything on the standard Renault radio it’s necessary to press buttons to make it happen.
Listening to Podcasts in the Car
I’ll have to find out if it’s possible to use my preferred podcasting application or if I will have to go with the Apple Podcasts app. I see that Overcast works with Carplay and it used to be my favourite podcasting app before I changed to Pocket Casts. So I just checked on the website for Pocket Casts and I’m in luck it does support Carplay. In the support area of the website it says “if you’re getting a shiny new car, or stereo for your old rust bucket, rest assured you can plug in and go. When you do you’ll be able to browse your podcasts and filters for episode to play as well as control playback at all without touching your phone.” Well that’s good news!
A Good Decision – Choosing Apple Carplay
All keep my hands in the original unit to put back in the car if I ever want to sell it. It is a good car and it’s costing very little to run. I would prefer to buy myself an electric car. The new Nissan Leaf looks very nice indeed but too expensive for the amount of driving I do. It wouldn’t save me any money to be using the much cheaper electricity due to the relatively small number of kilometres I drive. Ever since I bought my Renault Clio I have kept a log of all of the petrol put into the car. The cost per month is less than €50 even when I’m using the car more during the summertime when I’m working. For that reason I can see myself keeping the car for many more years and so choosing Apple Carplay as my entertainment/navigation technology makes good sense. At least there’s a possibility of us getting an electric car because my wife’s car is badly in need of upgrading and for the long-term and electric vehicle is the way to go.