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Pioneer, Kenwood unveil new third-party head units for Apple's CarPlay

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iPhone owners looking to make the most of Apple's nascent in-car initiative without buying a vehicle now have a number of new choices, as industry heavies Pioneer and Kenwood have announced several new CarPlay-compatible replacement head units at CES 2015.

Pioneer has brought three new models into the CarPlay fold with the AVIC-8100NEX, AVIC-7100NEX and AVH-4100NEX. The second-generation NEX head units include external microphones for voice input as well as a wired remote to use with built-in steering wheel controls and support for Google's Android Auto.

The AVIC-8100NEX sports a high-resolution 7-inch capacitive touchscreen, while the AVIC-7100NEX and AVH-4100NEX ship with similar, resistive touch displays. All three units are equipped with HDMI input, wideband speech and A2DP AAC Bluetooth connectivity, HD Radio, and dual-zone audio and video playback.

Interested buyers will be able to purchase the new head units in March, beginning at $700 for the AVH-4100NEX, $1,200 for the AVIC-7100NEX, and $1,400 for the AVIC-8100NEX.

Rival kenwood, meanwhile, has announced its own DDX9902S, which also supports both CarPlay and Android Auto. Kenwood says the DDX9902S ships with an MHL-supported HDMI port which will allow iPhone 5, 6, and 6 Plus owners to charge their device while in use.

Bluetooth connectivity, HD Radio, and SiriusXM support are included alongside a "high-sensitivity touch screen." Buyers also have the option of adding a rear-view camera and factory steering wheel control integration.

Pricing and availability information for the DDX9902S is not yet available, but Kenwood says it will be released "soon."