Kenwood DDX9702S and DDX9902S Apple CarPlay Systems Now Shipping


Since their first appearance at this year’s CES, it has been rumoured for the last few months that we would see Kenwood’s entrance into the Apple CarPlay aftermarket stereo system market some time in May/June. With June nearly out the window, Kenwood has taken it right to the wire by shipping both of their CarPlay enabled systems to retailers on June 24th.

Both DDX9702S and DDX9902S stereo systems feature CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, meaning this is the first aftermarket system out of the door that supports both iOS and Android platforms – Ideal if you have people with different phones riding inside. Switching between platforms is said to be fast without the need to manually change settings or reset the unit.

Their cost is set to a suggested price of $900 for the 9702S and $950 for the 9902S, so expect that to be around £700 and £750 in the Queen’s money, after conversion and TAX added, putting it outside the region of the Alpine and Pioneer offerings here in the UK, but then you do get the added choice of both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay amongst many other features.

There is no sign of Wireless CarPlay with these units though, with Kenwood keeping mum on the subject. Looking through the online manual doesn’t bring up any clues either.  Sadly, the 6.95-inch screen is resistive rather than a capacitive touch screen display, but the back-up camera and multiple audio and video options soften that blow, as does HD Radio (DAB?) and HDMI input with MHL support for DVD playback -yes there is a CD/DVD slot behind that fold out display.

The extra price gets you a few extra bands in the equaliser, higher voltage output and aptX wireless Bluetooth Audio. So all-in-all it is probably wise to jump the extra $50 for the improved BT audio alone. Plus you never know if Wireless CarPlay might want to use aptX in the future, although Wi-Fi has been the rumoured Wireless CarPlay standard.

Whether we’ll see more systems from Kenwood this year, fulfilling our wishes of capacitive displays and Wireless CarPlay, their first volley into the CarPlay enabled market is a good one. Let’s just hope their next isn’t such a long wait away.

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