Apple CarPlay is here
Apple waited until the Geneva Motor Show to unveil, finally, the results of its “iOS in the car” project – CarPlay.
CarPlay is not an in-car system that runs iOS or iOS apps. Instead, it integrates your iPhone apps with your car’s digital systems, allowing you to control them and your device more easily. Plugging your iPhone into your car via USB connects phone to car instantly and allows you to access all the functionality of the phone without the “eyes off road experience” that usually accompanies trying to use your phone whilst driving.
A choice of control modes
There are three ways to control CarPlay, and not one of them requires you to look at or touch your phone.
1. Control CarPlay using Siri
Using Siri, you’ll be able to talk to your vehicle and tell it what to do.
2. Control CarPlay using touchscreen display
Some CarPlay cars will come with touchscreen displays in the dashboard. Using this display, you’ll be able to open and close apps using a very simple homescreen.
3. Control CarPlay with all the usual car buttons and knobs
Of course, your car will still have physical buttons, knobs and controls and you’ll still be able to use these alongside the touchscreen and Siri options.
What can CarPlay do and where can it do it?
The idea of CarPlay is that it allows you to use all your iPhone’s functionality without actually touching it. From the start you’ll be able to use your iPhone’s phone and messaging functionality, play your iTunes music, navigate using Apple Maps and watch videos.
However, Apple’s plan is to allow third parties to build CarPlay compatibility into their apps, making them usable through the system and, in theory, there is no limit to the interplay between iPhone and car – although only time will tell exactly how far the system will take us.
Currently confirmed apps with CarPlay features incoming are: Spotify, Podcasts, Beats Radio, iHeartRadio and Stitcher, but more are likely to be added rapidly..
As CarPlay requires a certain amount of oomph only the iPhone 5S, iPhone 5C and the iPhone 5 are currently compatible, as well as all new iPhones moving forward and, for the moment, there are no cars on the road capable of using the system. But, this is all set to change later this year with models from Ferrari, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar, Mercedes and Volvo all getting in on the act. Specifically, 2014 will see the launch of CarPlay in the Volvo XC90 SUV, Mercedes-Benz C-Class and the Ferrari FF.
However, all the usual suspects have committed to supporting the CarPlay platform with future models including BWM, Chevrolet, Ford, KIA, Land Rover, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Opel, Peugeot-Citroen, Subaru, Suzuki and Toyota.
For a peak at CarPlay in action on a Volvo, check out this video: