Monday, March 3, 2014

Apple announces iOS-powered CarPlay infotainment system, to roll out later this year

As expected, Apple on Monday announced its latest push into the automotive space with CarPlay, a rebadged "iOS in the Car" that integrates the touch and voice controls of iOS with a car's infotainment system. 

Announced at the Geneva Motor Show, CarPlay is a rebadging of "iOS in the Car," which Apple revealed at its Worldwide Developers Conference in 2013. Reports last week pointed to today's reveal, though the name change is somewhat of a surprise. 

"CarPlay has been designed from the ground up to provide drivers with an incredible experience using their iPhone in the car," said Apple's vice president of iPhone and iOS Product Marketing Greg Joswiak. "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 lineup of auto partners rolling out CarPlay, and we're thrilled it will make its debut this week in Geneva."

The first examples of CarPlay will come from Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo, all of which are premiering the technology in various car models this week. Other automakers like BMW, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai Motor Company, Jaguar, Land Rover, Kia, Mitsubishi, Nissan, PSA Peugeot Citroën, Subaru, Suzuki and Toyota will be rolling out CarPlay-compatible cars down the road.


In operation, drivers connect their Lightning-equipped iPhone via a hardline, assumedly allowing for charging while pushing phone operations to the on-board infotainment system. A steering wheel-mounted voice control button activates Siri to cut down on distractions in the cockpit, though users can also interface with iOS 7-inspired controls if a car comes equipped with a touchscreen. According to Apple, CarPlay can access all knobs, buttons and dials controlling an in-car display.

Drivers can place phone calls, listen to voice mail messages, access contacts and have text messages read to them by Siri. Mapping is also integrated into CarPlay, including turn-by-turn directions that show up on a car's screen.


Entertainment options include access to an iPhone's music library, podcasts, audiobooks, iTunes Radio and music streaming apps like SpotifyBeats Music and iHeartRadio

CarPlay will come as an update to iOS 7 and works with Lightning-enabled iPhones, including the iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c and iPhone 5. Ferrari, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo are expected to ship models with CarPlay in 2014.