Hands-on with Apple’s CarPlay

23 March 2014Apple

Matt Brian, reporting for Engadget:

Sharing part of its name with the company’s AirPlay media-streaming protocol, CarPlay combines all of the iPhone’s most important features and mirrors them inside the car, allowing car owners to call, text, navigate and listen to music (and more) using touch- or Siri-based voice inputs. The new in-car interface is compatible with new Ferrari, Mercedes and Volvo models unveiled at the Geneva Auto Show, and it’s there that we got the chance to test Apple’s automotive assistant inside a suitably equipped Ferrari FF coupe.

Most in-vehicle information systems are terrible. Based on this brief demo, it looks like Apple’s CarPlay offers a simple, familiar, and well-designed replacement system. There’s the added benefit of having information stored on your phone seamlessly accessible in your vehicle, eliminating the need to transfer contacts or periodically update navigation system data.

Two caveats with CarPlay are the need to coordinate with vehicle manufacturers (not all of which have embraced the technology yet) and the lack of an after-market solution (only new cars support CarPlay). Given the slow upgrade cycle for vehicles, the ability to upgrade existing models to support CarPlay makes a lot of sense.

UPDATE

The no after-market CarPlay solutions caveat might not be an issue for long.