Apple, maker of tech items like the iPhone, iPad and Mac line of computers, is extending its reach into the automotive market, making a fairly big announcement ahead of the Geneva Motor Show. No, it hasn't bought Tesla (yet). Instead, Apple has announced CarPlay, an all-new means of controlling an iPhone through your car.
Now, this doesn't strike us as some gimmicky thing. It's become increasingly common for automakers to take advantage of the high-speed data streams its customers enjoy on their smartphones in order to integrate navigation, traffic, audio and other infotainment items into a car's touchscreen interface. The Chevrolet Spark and Sonic are two prime examples of this move, using an iPhone's data stream for Siri integration and data for a third-party navigation app.
It's best to think of CarPlay as a sweeping expansion of the system seen in the Spark and Sonic. According to Apple, following an iOS update, owners will be able to plug in their iPhones to their cars via the USB port and gain control of a number of the device's functions, all through a car's touchscreen. If there is no touchscreen, then voice controls are available.
Owners will be able to plug in their iPhones to their cars via the USB port and gain control of a number of the device's functions, all through a car's touchscreen.
That means making and receiving calls, text messages, emails and voicemails, accessing navigation via Apple Maps (which is shown on a car's display, provided it has one) and of course, operating the iPhone's audio options, such as music, podcasts and audio books, are all available in one easy-to-access place. CarPlay will also integrate popular iOS music apps, like Spotify.
What's most impressive is the sheer number of manufacturers Apple claims to have signed on for CarPlay. At the Geneva show alone, Apple is expecting announcements from Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo. Future announcements are expected from BMW, Ford, General Motors, Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Mitsubishi and Jaguar Land Rover, among others.
CarPlay will only be available to owners of the iPhone 5, 5C and 5S. We should have more on CarPlay when the Geneva Motor Show opens its doors to the media, bright and early tomorrow morning. Until then, take a look below for the official press release from Apple.
Related GalleryApple CarPlay
CarPlay Premieres with Leading Auto Manufacturers at the Geneva International Motor Show
GENEVA―March 3, 2014―Apple® today announced that leading auto manufacturers are rolling out CarPlay, the smarter, safer and more fun way to use iPhone® in the car. CarPlay gives iPhone users an incredibly intuitive way to make calls, use Maps, listen to music and access messages with just a word or a touch. Users can easily control CarPlay from the car's native interface or just push-and-hold the voice control button on the steering wheel to activate Siri® without distraction. Vehicles from Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo will premiere CarPlay to their drivers this week, while additional auto manufacturers bringing CarPlay to their drivers down the road include BMW Group, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai Motor Company, Jaguar Land Rover, Kia Motors, Mitsubishi Motors, Nissan Motor Company, PSA Peugeot Citroën, Subaru, Suzuki and Toyota Motor Corp.
"CarPlay has been designed from the ground up to provide drivers with an incredible experience using their iPhone in the car," said Greg Joswiak, Apple's vice president of iPhone and iOS Product Marketing. "iPhone users always want their content at their fingertips and CarPlay lets drivers use their iPhone in the car with minimized distraction. We have an amazing lineup of auto partners rolling out CarPlay, and we're thrilled it will make its debut this week in Geneva."
Apple has led consumer technology integration in the car for more than a decade. CarPlay brings your car and iPhone together for a thoughtful experience that lets drivers focus on driving, while also tapping into everything they want to do with their iPhone.
Once iPhone is connected to a vehicle with CarPlay integration, Siri helps you easily access your contacts, make calls, return missed calls or listen to voicemails. When incoming messages or notifications arrive, Siri provides an eyes-free experience by responding to requests through voice commands, by reading drivers' messages and letting them dictate responses or simply make a call.
CarPlay makes driving directions more intuitive by working with Maps to anticipate destinations based on recent trips via contacts, emails or texts, and provides routing instructions, traffic conditions and ETA. You can also simply ask Siri and receive spoken turn-by-turn directions, along with Maps, which will appear on your car's built-in display.
CarPlay gives drivers access to all of their music, podcasts, audiobooks and iTunes Radio℠ with easy navigation through listening choices from the car's built-in controls or simply by asking Siri to pull up what you'd like to hear. CarPlay also supports select third-party audio apps including Spotify and iHeartRadio, so you can listen to your favorite radio services or sports broadcast apps while driving.
Pricing & Availability
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 designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices with iPad.