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InfoQ Homepage News Apple Rolls Out CarPlay

Apple Rolls Out CarPlay

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At the Geneva International Motor Show, Apple announced to roll out CarPlay partnering with premium car manufactures. CarPlay fully integrates iOS devices with existing infotainment capabilities of cars. Currently, Apple restricts CarPlay to a few applications like Maps, Phone or Messages. At the moment, there is no public API announced to write CarPlay enabled applications.

Apple already mentioned the tighter integration of iOS devices in cars as part of its World Wide Developer Conference in June 2013. Back then, CarPlay was called "iOS in the Car". Currently integration of iOS devices usually bases on Bluetooth profiles to stream audio signals to the car's multimedia system or to use an iPhone for hands-free phone calls. With CarPlay, the iOS operating system actually becomes a part of the vehicle's internal systems, so it is possible to display iOS user interfaces on the vehicle's infotainment screen or to use Siri with built-in hands-free functionality. Connection between the car and the phone is established via lightning cable.

In its effort to make using an iPhone more secure while driving a car, Apple lets some of the iPhone applications directly interact with the car's user interface, so people can stay focused on driving even while using certain iOS functionalities. The user interface is not limited to built-in touch-screens but also includes hardware controls like dials and buttons that are usually used to control the car's infotainment system.

  • Apple Maps: Maps brings Apple's turn-by-turn navigation including traffic conditions to the car's dashboard. There will even be advanced features like predicting where a user will go to based on current contact and calendar information.
  • Phone: Hands-free, voice-controlled phone functionality will be directly delivered by iOS as Siri can be activated by the vehicles voice-control-system.
  • Messages: Siri will automatically read messages and can also be used to reply to them.
  • Audio: CarPlay lets the car entertainment system access the iPhones music library. Besides, it is possible to use third party audio apps like Spotify.

Brands like Ferrari, Jaguar and Mercedes-Benz will introduce CarPlay during 2014 in some of their models. Additional manufacturers like BMW, Ford, Toyota and others have also committed on integrating CarPlay in upcoming models.

According to Apple, CarPlay is part of an iOS 7 update and can be used with all model 5 iPhones. Currently, there is no information whether also other iOS devices like iPads or iPods will be supported. Although there are already third party applications that interface with CarPlay like Spotify or iHeartRadio, it is unclear whether there will be an API that lets developers write in-car applications.

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