Apple CarPlay to be revealed next week, in a bid to allow iPhone users to control their media and contacts safely while on the road. The integrated system will debut in Volvo, Mercedes-Benz, and Ferrari models rolling of the assembly line later this year, but other automakers such as Ford, Honda, Hyundai, and Toyota are expected to follow later on.
Originally announced back in June at its developers conference, Apple promised a system that would bring all of the features of iOS to the car, while keeping distractions minimized and streamlining the process of transferring their customers personal data from their iPhone to their car as much as possible. This has been achieved by using a system that mirrors the screen of an attached iPhone on the cars built-in infotainment screen, a feature that is activated via a specialized button built into the cars steering wheel. Of course, the system only works with an iPhone connected, so anyone with a different smart phone will have to find another way to connect their device safely with their vehicle.
The CarPlay system allows the user to seamlessly connect their iPhone to their car using a lightning cable, with wi-fi connectivity intended for future revisions. As most new cars feature some sort of intelligent system that handles maps, music, and communication, the Apple CarPlay system works side by side with the default software to allow using both the iPhone and car software on the same screen, without the distracting task of switching screens for different tasks.
Essentially, the screen built into the car becomes a remote control for the iPhone, mirroring the screen of the mobile device on the screen of the car at the press of a button, allowing control of the iPhone through the cars built-in interface. This system allows the iPhone user to access the majority of their favourite apps while on the road, including Spotify and Pandora internet radio, with broader support planned for the future.
With Apple CarPlay to be revealed next week, people will see how simple it can be to integrate a smart phone unobtrusively into a car, meaning connectivity options for other phones will likely appear in the future, but will they be as intuitive?
Drivers will be able to control their device through their cars touch screen, or use Siri to give voice commands. Apple has stated that the goal of CarPlay is to allow the driver quick access to the multitude of services and features available on the iPhone while keeping their eyes on the road as much as possible. In its current form, a touch screen built into the car as well as Bluetooth connectivity will be needed for CarPlay to work, but as these features become more common it will only get easier to find suitably equipped vehicles.
As well, software enhancements on the iPhone itself are required, but will be supplied in rolling updates in the future. Wisely, Apple said that CarPlay will limit the iPhone to tasks that are useful on the road, and will not allow users to play games or watch movies on their cars screen. When Apple CarPlay is revealed next week, people will find out if it is possible for phones to be used safely in a car, but real world use will likely tell a story of its own.
By Daniel O’Brien