Apple to Go Big with CarPlay in 2015
More Than Forty Models to Feature System by Year's End
If you’ve paid any attention to business news over the last several months, you’re probably aware of Apple’s large-scale hiring of people with experience in the automotive industry, as well as some Silicon Valley poaching of employees from Bay Area-based automaker Tesla. Whether Apple will actually build a full-fledged vehicle themselves or if they’re just looking at tighter integration with other manufacturers is unknown. However, concurrent with yesterday’s official debut of the Apple Watch came the announcement that more than 40 vehicle models would be available with the company’s CarPlay in-dash interface installed. The concept of CarPlay is to largely mirror the mobile experience of an iPhone on the vehicle’s dashboard, with some parameters set for safety.
Even if your budget doesn’t allow for the purchase of a brand-new ride, you could still enjoy the benefits of the CarPlay interface with aftermarket units to be sold by Pioneer and Alpine. CarPlay will likely co-exist with Android Auto in many cars, as auto manufacturers want to ensure their vehicles are compatible with the two largest mobile OS platforms. More than 25 automotive brands, including Ford, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Mazda, and Volkswagen have signed up to be part of the Android Auto alliance; many of those automakers also said they would support CarPlay.
We’ve sampled an aftermarket Alpine head unit equipped with CarPlay and found it to be relatively user friendly. Siri’s functionality was well integrated with the infotainment system, and several third-party apps like Spotify, Rdio, and CBS Radio News complement Apple Maps and Music. Additionally, Siri will read text messages and record dictated responses, place phone calls, and enter navigation locations, allowing the driver to keep his eyes on the road. As you can see in the above image, manufacturers can even include their own apps to schedule service and monitor service intervals, vehicle systems, and overall vehicle health. In this case, we're looking at Hyundai's version of Apple CarPlay.
Check out the gallery below for Volvo's take on CarPlay, which appeared in their Concept Estate wagon, and Honda's use of CarPlay, available in many of the company's vehicles.