Apple has introduced a new update to iOS 7 called CarPlay bringing the iPhone experience to car dashboards. The new system will allow cars and the iPhone to work closer together, giving drivers access to mapping, music services and messages, with simple words or touch controls.
“CarPlay has been designed from the ground up to provide drivers with an incredible experience using their iPhone in the car,” said Greg Joswiak, vice-president of iPhone and iOS product marketing at Apple.
“iPhone users always want their content at their fingertips and CarPlay lets drivers use their iPhone in the car with minimized distraction. We have an amazing line-up of auto partners rolling out CarPlay, and we’re thrilled it will make its debut this week in Geneva.”
Announced at the Geneva International Motor Show, CarPlay is the next evolution of Apple’s iOS in the Car, which connected iPhones to car stereos via the now obsolete docking connector that featured on iPhones and iPods up until the release of the iPhone 5 with the newer, smaller Lightning Connector, reports The Guardian.
The hands-free experience means that Siri will read incoming messages and notifications and allow the user to respond with their voice. Maps can supposedly anticipate user’s destination based on recent trips via contacts, emails or texts and can provide navigation instructions (read by Siri), traffic conditions and ETA.
Entertainment options include access to an iPhone’s music library, podcasts, audiobooks, iTunes Radio and music streaming apps like Spotify, Beats Music and iHeartRadio.
As CarPlay uses the Lightning Connector, it will require an iPhone 5, iPhone 5S or iPhone 5C to work, meaning that the iPhone 4S or earlier cannot be used with the new in-car system. Compatibility for the CarPlay system will be made available via an iOS 7 software update at a later date.
The car manufacturers initially featuring CarPlay are Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo that announced to begin shipping of CarPlay-installed vehicles to drivers this week. In 2014, that group will expand to include Honda, Hyundai and Jaguar, and beyond that it’ll ship on cars from BMW, Chevrolet, Ford, Kia, Land Rover, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Open, Peugeot-Citroën, Subaru, Suzuki and Toyota.
As TechCrunch says, there are still some manufacturers missing from that list, including Fiat’s stateside brand of Chrysler and any car company from VW Group, but really that means Apple will soon have direct access to a platform expansion that could put its products and software front and center in potentially over 15 million new places annually – that’s how many new cars were sold globally last year.
Apple is no stranger to in-car support, as that feature was originally named ‘iOS in the Car’ and was revealed last year at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, but the evolution of CarPlay looks like a big step up into the world of entertainment systems for next-gen cars. Such companies as Microsoft and BlackBerry have emphasized that such systems are important in their future development.
Google has also recently dipped its toe in this area, announcing in January its plans for the Open Automotive Alliance, an effort to include Android in cars.