The new CarPlay is going beyond an infotainment first experience but truly embeds the phone with the car
At Apple’s annual developer conference – the worldwide developer conference (WWDC), the Cupertino based gadget maker announced a slew of updates for its software platforms. As a part of the iOS 16 update, Apple also showed off a massive new update for its phone beaming technology – CarPlay – that allows users to beam the interface and software of the iPhone on the car infotainment system. The new iteration of CarPlay goes beyond just the infotainment experience as vehicles have started to adopt massive digital screens just not for the infotainment but the instrument cluster. Apple says the new version of CarPlay which will be first seen in cars by automotive bigwigs in 2023, has been designed for these diverse screen types.
Apple wasn’t clear if this new interface would work when the iPhone is hooked up to a car either via USB cable or wirelessly. Though Apple did say that the iPhone connects with the car to share data in a privacy friendly way. Apple’s insinuation of the feature coming with limited models of automotive biggies like Mercedes, Honda, Acura, Audi, Porsche, Volvo, Land Rover, Jaguar, Polestar, Nissan, Renault, Lincoln and Ford indicates this is more like an OS that is embedded in the car.
Apple showed off a broad new interface which adopts the UI of the iPad for infotainment but expanded a new UI for the virtual instrument cluster. Users could potentially control the HVAC and air conditioning system from the infotainment screen while looking at critical car functions like the speedometer, the RPM counter and the main interface of the instrument cluster in a digital themable format integrating even Apple Maps. Apple’s demos also showed information about the trip computer, weather, navigation system and fuel and battery levels.
Google is also doing bits of this with Android Automotive, but Apple didn’t show off a dedicated App Store for CarPlay. Apple indicated that it will have more information about this feature in the due course of time which could mean an app platform could be on the horizon. But right now it remained coy. Of course, Apple has been working on an electric autonomous car and this could be some of the work it has put in on the software and human interface side of things. Apple is usually not known to license the technology, but CarPlay is increasingly becoming an outlier in its repertoire.
Apple reported that 98 per cent of the cars in the US had CarPlay and it said 79 per cent of users considered its presence while buying a new car. Apart from this, Apple also announced some minor updates to Apple Maps at WWDC 2022.