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Carplay: An iPhone on wheels gives cars an upgrade

Pioneer Electronics is bringing Apple's CarPlay technology onto your dashboard, making it possible to turn your car into an iPhone on wheels.

In March, Apple announced that it was partnering with a range of car makers from Mercedes to Toyota to offer CarPlay—which allows consumers to use their iPhones in their cars to make calls, use maps, listen to music and access messages—later this year.

But now you don't need to buy a new car if you want CarPlay, as Pioneer Electronics said that five of its existing radios will integrate Apple's CarPlay.

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"We all know there are a lot of vehicles on the road and a lot of consumers who have iPhones. But they might not have the financial means to go out and buy a new vehicle today," says Ted Cardenas, vice president of marketing for the car electronics division of Pioneer Electronics.

"Pioneer's solution gives them the ability to make a small investment, certainly relative to buying a new car, and get a new Pioneer radio that can give them Apple CarPlay when available this summer," Cardenas said.

It's easy to use: Get in the car, plug in your iPhone 5, 5c or 5s and then access the on-board display to use all the information on your iPhone.

For Pioneer, these radios could boost its already hefty share of the in-car radio market.

As for Apple, it's another potentially powerful way to broaden and deepen its ecosystem of devices and services. Apple wants consumers using its operating system no matter where they are: at home, at work, or in their cars.

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Pioneer's radios will work with most cars but not all. Luxury vehicles such as Mercedes and BMW won't easily accommodate the systems.

Pioneer says the technology will be available in the next few weeks. The five radios will range from $700 to $1,400 dollars, not including installation. Pricey? Perhaps, but it's a lot less expensive than buying a new car in the fall.

By CNBC's Mark Berniker and Josh Lipton.

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