New Apple CarPlay defines in-dash showdown with automakers

When Apple introduced CarPlay in 2014, several German automakers, including Audi, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen, expressed concerns. on the loss of infotainment data such as navigation search. Toyota resisted adding CarPlay and Android Auto, which provide similar capability for Google’s Android devices, until 2018.

Because CarPlay is uniform across all vehicles, automakers forgo brand differentiation on in-dash displays to Apple and Google. In its current version, automakers restrict CarPlay to a vehicle’s central dashboard display and allow it to duplicate iPhone apps for calls, messages and navigation. The system includes third-party apps, including Waze, Spotify, ChargePoint, and others. Drivers control apps via a car’s touchscreen and voice command.

The latest version of CarPlay goes even deeper into the dashboard and “communicates with your vehicle’s systems in real time,” said Emily Schubert, senior manager of automotive experience engineering at Apple, during the world developer conference.

The preview showed how CarPlay could replace an automaker’s dashboard displays for the speedometer, tachometer, temperature gauges and fuel or EV battery level. It also lets you customize a dashboard using Apple-selected layouts, colors, backgrounds, and watch faces.

And it can add customizable widgets to car screens that display calendar items, weather information, address book contacts and more from a connected iPhone.

Given their long production lead times, automakers are expected to start implementing the new version of CarPlay soon. But Rob Passaro, an automotive technology and product management consultant who worked closely with Apple at BMW, said he hadn’t heard of any automakers implementing it since the announcement. .

Yet Apple’s huge popularity with consumers gives it significant leverage over automakers. Buyers now see CarPlay as standard equipment, said Brian Moody, editor at Cox Automotive’s Autotrader.

According to Schubert, 98% of new vehicles are now equipped with CarPlay and 79% of buyers “consider only CarPlay-enabled vehicles” when buying new cars.

“Trying to start CarPlay at this point is a pretty big risk,” said Mike Ramsey, automotive and smart mobility analyst at Gartner.

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