As expected, Apple has finally released CarPlay, a new software platform that will give iPhone users unprecedented integration with iOS in automobiles. With CarPlay, users will have a new way to make calls and reply to messages within the car, use Apple Maps for navigation, and listen to music through their iTunes account.
Automobiles from Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo will debut CarPlay this week, the company announced in a press statement, while manufacturers such as Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Roverwill also use CarPlay in some 2014 models. Other manufacturers to have signed up include BMW, Ford, General Motors, Kia, Mitsubishi, Nissan, PSA Peugeot Citroën, Subaru, Suzuki and Toyota.
With CarPlay, users have a safer alternative to using their iPhone with easy controls within the native interface of the ICE and a voice-control button that will activate Siri for voice-based interaction. “CarPlay has been designed from the ground up to provide drivers with an incredible experience using their iPhone in the car,” Greg Joswiak, VP, iPhone and iOS Product Marketing, said in a statement. “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,” he added, referring to the Geneva Motor Show, where the launch is slated to happen.
CarPlay works something like this: Once an iPhone is connected to a car with CarPlay integration, you can access your contacts, make calls, return missed calls or listen to voicemails through Siri. Incoming messages and notifications will be read out by for an eyes-free experience. Siri will also let users dictate responses or simply make a call.
CarPlay integrates Apple Maps to give you routes, navigation info etc. It will track your recent destinations via your contacts, emails or text messages, and provides realtime routing instructions, traffic alerts and ETA. This is in addition to turn-by-turn directions that will be shown on the built-in display. CarPlay also gives you access to music, podcasts, audiobooks and iTunes Radio with your account. You can use the car’s built-in controls or use Siri to change tracks etc. At the moment, Apple is announcing support for select third-party audio apps including Spotify, Stitcher, Beats Music and iHeartRadio, and more are expected to follow.
Apple says that CarPlay is available as an update to iOS 7 and only works with the Lightning-enabled iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c and iPhone 5 and that too only in select cars shipping this year. Availability has been announced for Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Republic of Korea, Spain, Switzerland, UK and the US.