Apple disclosed on Monday, that CarPlay, a tool which includes many of the key features of iOS 7, will be included in the dashboards of a few select automobiles. Apple has moved into autos with CarPlay, as they gained the support of auto manufacturers who are committed to delivering vehicles with which the application is compatible. The vehicles will provide users with the same experience as iPhone users, but should be much easier and safer than the separate use of the handset while driving, and can be expected within a few days.
The CarPlay system will be available in July of this year, and the first automakers, in which the application will be found, are expected to Mercedes-Benz, Ferrari, Honda Volvo, and other brands such as Jaguar, Ford and BMW and several others will include CarPlay later.
CarPlay consists of two parts. In addition to the technology being included in the iPhone, an infotainment center which supports touch-screen and wireless operation with Bluetooth technology will be installed in the vehicles. Siri, the speech recognition interface, is expected to be at center of the system.
In order to use CarPlay, users will launch Siri with the push of an easily accessible button. They will then be able to make voice–activated calls, access messages, use Maps or listen to music, without manual input. The application is also expected to be able to access third party-apps such as iHeart Radio and Spotify. The embedded GPS and built-in screen will be used to display turn-by-turn directions or other menus.
The approach used by Apple as it moves into autos with CarPlay is slightly different from the approach used by Google, who chose to embed electronics and the Android for native operation. The connection between electronics and autos is becoming much tighter, and General Motors has announced that from 2015, all autos with fourth generation chips will be web- connected without needing smartphones. To this end Apple has also announced that CarPlay will be included with the upgrade of iOS 7 which is expected later this year.
By moving into autos with CarPlay, it is hoped that the lifecycle of upgrades will be shortened as many of the products will be readily available for both the autos and the iPhones almost simultaneously. Although the announcement appears to have been accepted with some enthusiasm, there are still a few questions and issues that have been raised, such as the availability of an SDK, or the range of vehicles or if offline operation will be made available? It is hoped that more details will be forthcoming in Apple’s WWDC to be held in June of this year.
The lineup of vehicles in which CarPlay will be included is an impressive one that includes Kia Motors, Subaru, Toyota, Suzuki, Nissan and several others. However, operation is limited to the latest version of the Lightning version of the iOS operating system, which limits the use of CarPlay in autos to the iPhone5.
As Apple moves into autos with Carplay, a new world of connectivity is opened, as drivers can be easily connected with a few voice commands or the touch of a button.
By Dale Davidson