Today, Apple announced Apple CarPlay, an iOS in the Car initiative, which rolls out first on cars from Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz, and Volvo at this week’s Geneva Motor Show. It will work with the iPhone 5, 5S, or 5C.
CarPlay mirrors your iPhone’s screen, filling a center-console touchscreen with large buttons for key functions like maps, music, text messaging, and phone calls. Alternatively, drivers can press a voice control button on the steering wheel to call up Siri for an eyes-free control experience.
You can also ask Siri directions and receive spoken turn-by-turn directions, along with Maps, which will appear on your car’s built-in display.
Along with native Apple apps like iTunes and Maps, CarPlay will work with a variety of third-party apps, primarily audio-focused. Options at launch will include Spotify, Beats Radio, iHeartRadio, and Stitcher. Apple promises more compatible apps are coming soon.
CarPlay’s biggest downside is that it will only work if you own an iPhone. The 55% of U.S. smartphone owners who use Android or Windows Phone will be left out.
Apple’s list of “committed partners” is all-encompassing, with only Chrysler, Volkswagen, and Audi as notable absences.
Apple CarPlay is available as an update to iOS 7 and works with Lightning-enabled iPhones, including iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c and iPhone 5. CarPlay will be available in select cars shipping in 2014.
Apple, Google and Microsoft and others are fighting to be in control of the vehicle’s “operating system” to deliver apps, navigation and other services.
- Google unveiled a new Open Automotive Alliance last month, a partnership with General Motors, Audi, Honda and Hyundai to bring the Android mobile system to vehicles.
- Ford SYNC is a factory-installed, Microsoft OS with integrated in-vehicle communications and entertainment that allows users to make hands-free telephone calls, control music and perform other functions with the use of voice commands. At MWC 2014 Ford unveiled its new Ford Focus, which included an upgraded in-car OS, Sync 2. The 8-inch display is the touch interface for the new Sync 2 OS, which now also supports more natural voice commands. Apart from controlling navigation, music, and making calls, the OS also lets users read and respond to mails. Ford says it’s ‘not married’ to Microsoft for next-gen Sync, but that BlackBerry’s QNX isn’t necessarily in. Ford is essentially keeping its options open, says TechCrunch.
- Canadian-based QNX unveiled a partnership with Qualcommto support the chipmaker’s new automotive platform, which connects to smartphones and offers apps for maps, speech recognition, geolocation, and vehicle analytics.
- The Connected Car Cloud, was announced Tuesday by Jasper Wireless. It is designed to let car makers offer a range of safety, security and infotainment systems. Jasper will power AT&T Drive, a global automotive platform for developing LTE connected car services.
- Mazda this year announced a partnership with OpenCar to launch a new standards-based app system that allows the on-board screen to act as a browser and use a wide range of applications on the Internet. Seattle-based OpenCar claims the system would have more control of the apps, being able to choose those deemed safe for the road, and be able to draw from the full Internet, not just Android or Apple. “With us, the carmakers are tied to a browser, not a company,” according to OpenCar’s Paul Boyes. “If you have Apple or Android, you are married to their system.”
Telematicsencompasses telecommunications, vehicular infotainment, road transportation, road safety. The Dedicated Short-Range Communications (DSRC), defined by IEEE 802.11p, involves vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications. The 5.9 GHz band is also eligible for use by non-public safety entities for commercial or private operations.
IHS forecasts worldwide OEM telematics growth from 2014 through 2019 to be significant.