Apple revealed more details about its next-generation CarPlay software at a World Developers Conference on Monday, and dropped the names of some of the OEMs looking at putting it in their cars.
Ford, Honda, Jaguar Land Rover, Mercedes, Renault and Volvo are among the carmakers lined up to implement the tech giant’s upgraded infotainment software in their future cars starting next year.
Compared with the current Apple CarPlay software, which has been around since 2014, the next version will offer far more integration with the host car. Drivers using CarPlay today can access functions like music players, messaging and navigation, but have to exit the system to adjust climate settings or access other car menus, something that’s particularly annoying on vehicles where almost every control is located in the touchscreen.
But the next generation of CarPlay will also be able to display information like the vehicle’s speed and fuel levels and let the driver operate functions like the climate system without leaving the CarPlay environment. Apple’s software will also be able to take over multiple on-board screens, rather than being restricted to the main infotainment display.
That means you’ll see, and be able to interact with, Apple CarPlay through the digital instrument clusters fitted to an increasing number of cars, and potentially the passenger-side displays fitted to luxury vehicles. CarPlay 2.0 will also work with portrait screens as well as landscape-style displays.
All of which sounds entirely sensible. Currently, the difference in look and feel between Apple’s CarPlay software and your car’s can seem quite jarring. Think of it being like watching TV 25 years ago when you had about seven different remotes to operate your television, DVD player, VHS player (for those cassettes of dumb car chase films you couldn’t bear to trash) and whatever else you had plugged in.
Are You Concerned?
But is anyone slightly concerned about the way our smartphones are creeping even further into lives that are already almost completely governed by the glass and metal computer in our pockets? We can already use our phones to unlock our cars, to display digital driving licenses for air travel, and, if you’re a woman, track your ovulation cycle. Next thing we know our phones will be advising us to up our water intake because they noticed we used five more sheets of paper than yesterday to wipe our asses.
Or maybe I’m just being cynical because although I use Apple devices, I find CarPlay too limiting so rarely use it, and am worried about it usurping some solid existing software from OEMs. We already know that smartphone connectivity is one of the most common problems cited by new vehicle owners. Leave a comment and let us know if you’re looking forward to the next generation of CarPlay or you think it’s the Devil’s Work and you’ll stick to your Nokia 3310 and hand-cranked Ford Model T.