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CarPlay Apps CarPlay News

CarPlay News February 2020

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Aftermarket CarPlay Headunits

Sony’s New XAV-AX8000 Apple CarPlay Compatible Receiver

In early August, Sony announced the release of its new XAV-AX8000 Apple CarPlay compatible receiver. Along with the XAV-AX8000 model, Sony also announced the release of three other models. However, the model that everybody is interested in is AX8000 since it offers something new from Sony. Most people considering the AX8000 are attracted to it because of the innovative display Sony built into this infotainment unit.

Are you wanting to get into CarPlay but don’t have a CarPlay radio? This is the way!

The Sony XAV-AX8000 is the latest CarPlay and Android Auto receiver made to fit into a smaller, single-DIN space. It comes with an 8.95-inch anti-glare display which goes over the dashboard. You can mount this screen in three different directions including forwarding, backward tilt, and vertical height and depth. Because the AX8000 is so flexible when it comes to fitting space inside any car, you should be able to get the unit installed the way you like in any vehicle you might happen to own.

So, when will the AX8000 be available to buy? You’ll find this model hitting the market right around Christmas, which shouldn’t be surprising. The holidays are typically a great time for new technology products to be released, and the AX8000 is no different. So expect the AX8000 to start hitting stores right before Christmas. Sony anticipates the unit’s suggested retail price will be set at $599.99 in the United States.

Can I Use the AX8000 with an Older Vehicle?

If you are looking for an aftermarket receiver that will work with an older car, then the AX8000 does provide that option. Since it’s an aftermarket receiver, you can have it installed into an older vehicle.

With the AX8000, you’ll be able to easily access CarPlay’s wide range of apps like Messages, Apple Maps, Apple Music, Spotify, Podcasts, Pandora, and plenty of great navigation apps like Waze and Google Maps. The AX8000 is also designed to support both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

And while the AX8000 offers plenty of great options at a great price, you’ll have to decide if it’s the right upgrade for your older model car. If you want a wireless CarPlay receiver, then this might not be the option that’s best for you.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that the AX8000 is a wired CarPlay receiver. That means you’ll have to have your iPhone plugged into your car with a Lightning USB cable. If you are looking for a wireless CarPlay receiver, then you might want to look into something from  AlpineKenwood, and JVC

Some Criticisms of the AX8000

While the AX8000 will give you an affordable CarPlay receiver even if you’ve got an older model car, there are still a few things we don’t like about it. While we really do like the price and the fact that the product will give many more people access to CarPlay, there are plenty of drawbacks to this item.

The USB out is at the rear with this system, which is a bit annoying. Also, you won’t get wireless CarPlay support with this option, which is a bit of a disappointment. Also, while you are getting a large display with this product, the resolution of 800×480 leaves much to be desired. If you prefer a higher level of resolution in your screen, Kenwood has some great options.

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CarPlay Apps CarPlay Audiobooks

Audiobooks.com App — How it Works

Love listening to audiobooks when you are taking a long-distance road trip? Check out Audiobooks.com. It’s a competitor to Apple’s native Books app, which is the gold standard of audiobook listening in CarPlay.

Whether you’re taking your daily work commute or driving on a long-distance road trip, audiobooks can give you a nice respite to enjoy while you’re on-the-go. Sometimes, we need a break from music and other times, we simply want to catch up on the hottest book best sellers when we don’t have time to sit down and read them. Now there is good news for those of you that are too busy to sit down and relax with your book. You can hear the latest bestseller by listening to Audiobooks.com on Apple CarPlay while you drive.

What Does Audiobooks.com Have to Offer?

Audiobooks.com offers a good deal of titles, with a library that contains more than 60,000 audiobooks. That selection covers genres including business, romance, fiction, sci-fi & fantasy, horror, mystery, and the other dozen or so standard categories of literature.

While the prices of their audiobooks varies depending on the title and the publisher, most books cost less than ten dollars.

With thousands of best-selling titles, you’ll be able to select from hundreds of new releases each week. You’ll love how much reading you’ll get done while you are on your daily commute using Audiobooks.com with Apple CarPlay while you are in your vehicle.

First Book is Free

A standard in the industry, your first audiobook is free. Plus, now that Audiobooks.com is compatible with CarPlay, you’ll be able to easily listen to your audiobooks while you are on the road.

Audiobooks.com allows you to download your audiobooks right to your Apple mobile device, which you can then connect to CarPlay to listen to while you drive. You’ll be able to stream audiobooks anytime, anywhere over Wi-Fi and mobile.

You can also rate and review your audiobooks anytime you want to without leaving the app. You’ll be able to stream the audiobooks anytime, too so that you won’t need to use your device’s storage space when you listen to your books.

How do I listen to an audiobook using CarPlay?

You can listen to your downloaded audiobooks in your car or stream them over Wi-Fi and data when you hook your iPhone up to your Apple CarPlay. Here are the steps:

  • First, plug your iPhone into the smartphone unit in your car.
  • The CarPlay home screen should appear, but if it doesn’t, select the CarPlay logo on your infotainment screen’s touchscreen display.
  • Select the Audiobooks.com app. You might need to swipe to the right to view the app.
  • Next, tap on “My Library.”
  • Select a title from the “My Library” screen.
  • After that, you should be able to play the title.
Categories
CarPlay Apps

MLB At Bat on CarPlay

Baseball lovers can now experience their favorite sport on CarPlay with MLB.com’s app, At Bat. If you love to listen to baseball coverage while you’re driving, the MLB app is the best solution, bar none.

MLB.com’s At Bat now boasts CarPlay integration. Depending on how much baseball you listen to, you might need to subscribe to MLB.com’s At Bat and pay for more access. We’ll cover some of those options below.

MLB.com Subscription Fee

With At Bat, you can listen to one Major League Baseball game for free with what MLB calls Gameday Audio: Home, Away and Spanish-language (where available) radio broadcasts

If you want to hear more than just one game, then you can get unlimited listening access with At Bat Premium for $2.99/month or $19.99 annually. If you go the subscription route, you’ll get access to more than just game audio including baseball news, updated stats, video, and more.

For obvious reasons, video is not available when the app is used with CarPlay.

With the subscription service, you’ll get plenty of listening options with CarPlay. While you can’t watch games as you drive, you could still use your MLB.com subscription to watch games at home.

Should You Subscribe to MLB?

If you tend to also watch a lot of baseball when you’re not driving, forking over the subscription’s twenty bucks means you can watch live games on your iPad and iPhone, including the Game of the Day. If you subscribe to MLB.TV Premium, you’ll be able to also watch out-of-market games as well.

Subscription benefits:

  • Replay clips
  • Gameplay explanations
  • Enhanced pitch-by-pitch
  • Support for many devices
  • Condensed game views
  • Breaking baseball news
  • Easy-to-follow baseball statistics
  • A customizable home screen so you can more easily follow your favorite team on your phone or tablet
  • Video library archives you can search by player, team, or keyword
  • Access to a classic video library showing historical moments in baseball
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CarPlay Apps CarPlay Music & Podcasts

Spotify Stations Updated to Work With CarPlay

For all of you music lovers out there, you’ll get a lot of use from Spotify, which is one of the leaders in the music streaming service industry. If you’re a Spotify fan and you’re dying to listen to your favorite Spotify music with your Apple CarPlay, then you’re in luck. Spotify recently updated its Spotify Stations app for iOS so that it’s supported on CarPlay. Now you can take control of playback directly from your CarPlay head unit rather than having to mess around with your iPhone to access Spotify while you drive.

What We Love About Spotify Stations

One of the best things about Spotify Stations for CarPlay is its simplicity. When we first played around with it, we thought it seemed relatively basic. However, now that we’ve had some time to experience Spotify Stations, we realize the beauty of this simplicity. When you first access Spotify Stations, you’ll see a list of stations you can pick from. That list of stations is very similar to the iOS counterpart we are all already used to, but Spotify is now more car-friendly than what it used to be.

Spotify’s brilliant move of making their CarPlay version of Spotify Stations resemble the familiar iOS version means there is nothing new to learn here when you want to select a station. And the easier it is to use something, the more likely people are to use it. That’s certainly true of our experience with Spotify Stations.

What You’ll Get with Spotify Stations

The new Spotify Stations app was originally launched in the United States. With this app, you’ll get:

  • A radio-centric listening experience.
  • Easy-to-access radio stations that feature your favorite artists.
  • Access to things like favorites, acoustic hits, and more.
  • A set-up that is familiar to users.

Another great feature of Spotify Stations is the fact that the app will adapt to your musical tastes and requests the more often you use it. So, even when you can’t think of a song you might want to hear, Spotify Stations will have you covered. You won’t even need to type or search once Spotify Stations learns enough about what you like. After the app gets to know you, it will make stations featuring all of your favorite songs.

Competing with Pandora

Spotify Stations was obviously created to compete with Pandora, which it successfully does. However, Spotify Stations offers something Pandora doesn’t have yet, which makes Spotify Stations all that more attractive. In comparison to Pandora, Spotify Stations is able to offer you a more personalized listening experience. As long as you use Spotify Stations for on-demand music listening while you drive, the app will start adapting to you and giving you playlists and stations filled with all of your favorites.

Like Pandora, Spotify Stations was created for users that don’t want to have to lift a finger while they rock out. Of course, not wanting to touch anything while you drive and listen to music keeps everybody safe on the road, and that’s what Apple’s CarPlay is all about.

Stations can be downloaded for free on an iPhone with iOS 11.4 or later. If you don’t want to hear any ads, you’ll need to pay a $9.99 per month subscription fee.

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CarPlay Apps CarPlay Audiobooks

Listening to Your Audiobooks with Audible

If you’re one of those individuals that enjoys listening to audiobooks while driving, then Amazon’s Audible app provides you with a great feature to enjoy some of your favorite stories. If you tend to commute long distances to get to work or you’re taking a long road trip, you might start getting bored by your playlist. When that happens, playing some Audible audiobooks in your vehicle while you are on the road offers a nice way to pass the time. If you’re the type of person that enjoys learning new things daily, then Audible just might be the way to go.

It can feel overwhelming sometimes to figure out how to play audiobooks on a car’s infotainment center. However, the good news is that Audible now works easily with CarPlay. We’ve got the breakdown on Audible for CarPlay here, and we’ve also included some helpful steps to get you going with Audible on your daily commute.

Audible on CarPlay

Since the iOS 8.4 update, CarPlay has supported its iOS Audible app. So, as long as you have that update or higher on your iPhone, you have the ability to hear your Audible audiobooks while you drive your vehicle. The app you’ll want to use is the latest “Audiobooks for Audio” app for CarPlay, which will allow you to listen to your audiobooks easily.

Since the iOS 8.4 update, Audible became one of just a few third-party apps that were approved by Apple to work with their CarPlay system. Since the release of Apple’s CarPlay, Apple has kept control over what apps work with CarPlay, mostly citing safety concerns.

So, for a long time now, only certain audio-based apps were designed and approved by Apple to work with CarPlay. Along with Audible, users can also take advantage of a few other third-party apps like iHeartRadio, Spotify, Overcast, and a few others.

With Audible, you can instantly play a wide variety of different audiobooks with the app. Audible has one of the largest selections around for CarPlay streaming, so if you love audiobooks, you’ll love using Audible with CarPlay.

It’s Not a Closed System

It’s not a closed system, meaning you can listen to audiobooks you’ve downloaded via iTunes, for instance. Just make sure you’ve set iTunes up top.

Just make sure you’ve set iTunes up top.

The second I did that, my whole audiobook library was immediately accessible. How does the Audible app stack up against Apple’s native Audiobooks app? We’re going to do some testing and get back to you on this with a new post: Audiobooks vs. Audible: Which App is Best for Audiobook Listening?

How to Listen to Audible with CarPlay

It’s very simple to listen to Audible if you have Apple CarPlay in your car. We’ve got the steps below:

  • First, open Audible on your iPhone.
  • After you’ve selected Audible on your iPhone, plug your iPhone into the USB interface provided in your vehicle. You should see a CarPlay or smartphone icon label on the port you use to kick off CarPlay in your car.
  • Your vehicle’s infotainment system should detect your phone and switch to CarPlay.
  • Go to the CarPlay home screen area. Tap right to view Audible as a choice.
  • Tap on the Audible app on your CarPlay home screen.
  • After tapping Audible, go to “My Library” in the Audible app.
  • From the “My Library” area of the Audible app, you can select a book to play in your car.
  • Once you select a book, hit play, and you’ll hear your audiobook streaming in your car.
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Categories
CarPlay Apps CarPlay Music & Podcasts

Enjoy Your CarPlay Podcasts with NPR One

NPR One is a decent podcast and live broadcast app for individuals who enjoy shows and podcasts from NPR and local public radio. With NPR One, you can get on-demand NPR content anytime you want to listen to it. That means you can easily listen to the news, hear your favorite NPR shows, and much more. What’s even better now about NPR One is that you can not only use it with your iPhone, but also with Apple CarPlay as well.

If you recognize these, you should give this app a try.

When you start using NPR One, you’ll notice that there are four different sections. The first section, “Catch Up”, provides a playback of the NPR national news broadcasts so that you can stay up-to-date with current events. The second section, called “Up Next,” offers suggestions about what you should listen to after you finish up your current listening session. Third, there is the “Followed Shows” section, where you’ll find any shows you decide to follow. Last, you’ll see a “Recommended Shows” area, which provides you with NPR programs that the app thinks you might enjoy based on what you’ve listened to in the past.

NPR One on Apple CarPlay

If you like listening to streaming public radio news while you’re in your vehicle and on-the-go, then you’ll love NPR One on Apple CarPlay. Now you can listen to public radio news from all over the world. You’ll be able to select stations from international, national, and local news after you sign up for your NPR member station. If your car has Apple CarPlay in its infotainment system and you’re a news junkie, you’ll love having NPR One for Apple CarPlay.

If you want to get started and “Catch Up” on your National or Local broadcast news and then follow up with your recommended stories, then simply tap on the “Catch Up” feature. If you’re looking for something new, on the other hand, then you can tap on “Recommendations” and look over a list of episodes the app feels you might like based on what you’ve listened to previously.

If you’re taking a longer road trip, then NPR One’s “Featured Shows” might be your best bet. In that area of the app, you’ll find a list of shows and podcasts you can listen to while driving. Some of our favorites include NPR’s Hidden Brain, WNYC’s Radiolab, and PRX’s The Moth Radio Hour. However, feel free to browse around and find your own favorites, since there is a vast selection of titles to pick from.

While you are listening to one of your favorite “Featured Shows,” you can open the extended menu on the CarPlay interface and follow the show in NPR One. That way, you’ll be able to listen to the latest episodes as soon as they are released. Another neat feature we love is that you can watch the latest episodes from your followed shows by selecting “Followed.”

It Makes a Strong Case for Itself — If You Want NPR-Only Content

If you live in the world of National Public Radio content — meaning you’re a NPR devotee — this app will allow you a laser focus on current and new avenues of NPR content, like the hokey-but-fun Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!. Additionally, it can shine a light on content previously unknown, if you’re not an NPR listener.

How to Use NPR One with CarPlay

If you’re wondering how to use NPR One with CarPlay, just follow the steps below:

  • Connect your iPhone to CarPlay using your USB connector and connecting it to your car.
  • Turn on CarPlay and select NPR One on your CarPlay touchscreen.
  • Next, tap either “Catch Up” if you want to start with your recommended stories, OR
  • Tap on “Recommendations” to see a list of recommendations based on your previous listening.
Categories
CarPlay Apps CarPlay Music & Podcasts

Overcast — Your Apple Podcast Alternative?

For people that are looking for an alternative to Apple’s podcast app, Overcast can provide you with all you need. When it comes to podcasts for CarPlay or your iPhone, you’ve already got a lot of excellent choices. However, our favorite podcast app for your iPhone and CarPlay is Overcast. Designed by famous podcaster Marco Arment, a creator who completely gets podcasts as a medium, the app is friendly and simple. Arment’s innovative design and constant app updates to Overcast make it the most user-friendly podcast app available on the market today.

For a long time, Arment vocalized his feelings about making a free and open podcast app. When he created Overcast, he refused to use dynamically-inserted adds, or allow the app to track a listener’s activity. Arment’s feelings about how podcasting apps should work completely define his Overcast app. For instance, you can export your playlists in OPML from Overcast into another podcast app, a podcast feature you’ll find only in Overcast.

Overcast app while playing a podcast

Arment continues to come up with new innovations about podcasting, and he’s always revising the Overcast app. Through Overcast, Arment offers a lot of innovation and many of his ideas were copied by other apps throughout the years. The two most commonly copied features originally offered by just Overcast are the smart speed option and the voice boost option.

Although Overcast has long been a podcasting favorite as an app, it originally was only available for use with an iPhone. However, recently all of that changed. Now you can use Overcast easily on Apple CarPlay.

What’s New with Overcast

Overcast’s new update offers a bevy of new features now, including iPad and CarPlay support. So, you can play around with Overcast now if you have a tablet, but even better, you can listen to your favorite podcasts while driving with CarPlay. We’ve created a list below of some of the latest features you’ll find on Overcast.

  • Overcast now offers both iPad and CarPlay support.
  • You’ll now get universal rotation with overcast.
  • Most of the issues that made this app buggy in the past are now fixed.

Many people find that utilizing podcasts seems more natural on an iPhone when compared to an iPad. While that might be true, the best thing about Overcast is its CarPlay compatibility, which means you can now listen to your favorite podcasts with the app while driving.

How to Use Overcast with Apple CarPlay

Using Overcast with Apple CarPlay is quick and simple, and there are just a few simple steps you need to take to get Overcast working with your CarPlay. We’ve provided the steps below.

  • Connect your iPhone to CarPlay in your vehicle using your USB connection.
  • Once you plug your phone into the lightening cable, connect your iPhone.
  • You should see the CarPlay icon appear on your screen.
  • Select the CarPlay icon.
  • From there, you should be able to select the app you want to use.
  • Select the Overcast app

Once you’ve selected the Overcast app, you can start listening to your favorite podcasts

Categories
CarPlay Apps CarPlay Music & Podcasts

Get the Best Music with CarPlay’s iHeartRadio App

Many people love having a large selection of AM and FM radio stations from around the planet, which is exactly what iHeartRadio can offer you. The latest version of iHeartRadio on CarPlay has a few near features that most listeners love. First, iHeartRadio’s latest update provides an easier-to-use version of the app for cars that have CarPlay. The iHeartRadio app is now very easy to navigate and control through CarPlay while you are on-the-go.

What Does iHeartRadio Offer CarPlay Users?

iHeartRadio’s popularity comes from its massive content offerings. You can listen to anything from talk radio to almost any AM/FM radio station and stream your favorite music online with CarPlay. In fact, over 1900 live stations are available to users of iHeartRadio before they even sign up for an account.

To get the best use out of iHeartRadio’s iPhone app, you do need to create your own account because you’ll be able to personalize the app’s offerings in CarPlay. iHeartRadio only works on CarPlay if you already have an account. The personalization options in iHeartRadio will help you find your favorite radio stations more easily. Signing up for iHeartRadio is easy, and you can do so either using your Email or Facebook account.

If you’ve used iHeartRadio on your iPhone before, then the app will be familiar to you when you utilize it with CarPlay. Also, you’ll find a few interesting things you can listen to, including late night television shows like Jimmy Kimmel and Conan O’Brien. Also, if you enjoy your morning news, you can listen to some other television news broadcasts for shows like Good Morning America. On top of that, you’ll get a list of thousands upon thousands of AM and FM radio stations you can stream that are located throughout the country.

Another nice feature of iHeartRadio is its “Today” view widget, which you can access in the Notification Center. If you’re using iOS 8, which has the widget support, then you’ll be able to use this feature. That widget allows you to easily access your recently played stations on iHeartRadio. You’ll see some quick links to those stations as well as station art and titles when you use the widget. If you tap on a station that’s in the widget, it will take you right to that station so you can start listening to it.

If you’re ready to download iHeartRadio, you can do so at the App Store.

How Do I Add iHeartRadio to Apple CarPlay?

If you’re ready to start using iHeartRadio with your Apple CarPlay, you just need to follow a few steps. We’ve got the steps listed for you below.

  • Using your mini lightening cable, connect your iPhone to your car.
  • Your car’s display will then go into Apple CarPlay.
  • From there, tap on the music tab on the bottom of the screen.
  • You’ll see all available music apps displayed on your phone.
  • From there, scroll until you find iHeartRadio’s app and tap on it.
  • After selecting iHeartRadio, the app will launch and you should see the app’s features on your CarPlay screen.
Categories
CarPlay Music & Podcasts CarPlay Navigation CarPlay News Future of CarPlay

Part 2: What’s New With the iOS 13 Apple CarPlay Update

See iOS 13 update details Part 1

iOS 13 offers some nice updates for your iPhone, but it’s also making Apple CarPlay better, too. After you get your iOS 13 update, you’ll notice some great extra features, like a brand-new dashboard and several new and improved apps.

CarPlay Dash

With the new CarPlay dashboard, you’ll notice the most useful information available to you right away. Now, you can see your map, navigation, and music availability all in one screen, making things easy to use. You can now change the song you’re listening to while viewing your next turn on one screen, meaning you’ll be able to keep your eyes on the road longer.

Apple Music

Apple Music just got a bit cooler with the new CarPlay update. You’ll notice that it has an all-new look and several familiar library tabs ready for your favorite tunes. You’ll be able to access the browse feature more easily, making it simple to hear your favorite tunes. You’ll be able to see things like recently added tracks and personalized mixes easily. Also, the “Now Playing” screen is just a tap away.

Navigation

Apple Maps also comes with a new look, and it’s quite an improvement. Apple Maps was basically rebuilt from the ground up so that the road details on the app were better. You’ll love the increase in detail you’ll see with Apple Maps. While the new version of Apple Maps is exclusive to users in the United States right now, once the update goes through a trial one, it will be made more widely available.

The improvements made to turn-by-turn directions will become obvious after you use the navigation a bit more. You’ll hear more natural Siri language, like “Turn right at the next light,” instead of “In 500 feet, turn left.” You’ll also be able to find things like food and gas stations more easily as you travel. Plus, you’ll be able to let your contacts know what your ETA is now when you travel.

Better Siri

Using Siri just got a little easier, too. We already mentioned that Siri’s turn-by-turn directions are better, but “Hey Siri” is now supported fully in CarPlay. So, Siri will work now with car manufacturer’s microphones without issue. So you won’t have to press a button before you talk to Siri.

One thing we did noticed is that Siri doesn’t always hear the driver right away if there is other background noise. However, if this becomes a real problem, you may just need to get a better microphone to cut back on the problem.

Your mileage may vary when it comes to using “Hey Siri,” however. I’ve found that Siri doesn’t always hear me over music and other background noise — but that could be down to the microphones in my car, rather than CarPlay.

The New Calendar App

Now you won’t need Siri to get to your calendar. CarPlay now has its own Calendar app, and it lets you see the day you have planned with one simple glance. The new Calendar app also makes it simple to get directions to your next destination. You can select the event you’re going to, and you’ll see an option to get navigation help to arrive safely.

Light Mode

The new light mode in CarPlay is also worth mentioning. While dark mode is the default, you can switch color schemes if you go into Settings.