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.

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.

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.

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.
Show full PR text
Apple Rolls Out CarPlay Giving Drivers a Smarter, Safer & More Fun Way to Use iPhone in the Car
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.


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  • 41 Comments
      Dave
      • 9 Months Ago
      Certainly beats Google's approach with the "open" automotive alliance which is to own your head unit with limited compatibility from third parties (iOS, QNX and Windows Phone). At least Apple is give users the choice to either plug-in an iOS device or use the manufactures navigation system. Unfortunately those of us who buy Honda, GM and Audi will have Google's services jammed down our throats and data collected with no alternative.
        intangible81
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Dave
        Wait, you think Apple isn't going to try to lock you in completely to the Apple-only ecosystem? They already do that with pretty much everything they make, and for this they're using the Apple-only (patented and licensed) "lightning" connection. Allowing your car's entertainment system to work well with other devices outside your own brand is pretty-much going to be an Android approach, not from Apple, mark my words.
      waetherman
      • 9 Months Ago
      I'd buy this in an aftermarket head unit, but only if it can be operated as a stand-alone device, and if Apple doesn't interfere with third-party app compatibility. What I don't want is a head unit that is useless if I lose my phone or it runs out of battery, or to be limited to only using Apple's maps or music services that it allows.
      pjl35
      • 9 Months Ago
      Why is Honda not on this list when it's a Civic in the photos?
        iutodd
        • 9 Months Ago
        @pjl35
        Honda is on the list to have models on sale in 2014 and as you say the picture is a Civic. AB chose not to mention Honda for reasons passing understanding.
        Karfreek
        • 9 Months Ago
        @pjl35
        I think they are "among others". Honda also offers Siri Eyes free in he Accord and has even more iPhone integration in the 2014 Civic. They just are not beating the drum about it like GM is.
      Rob Butcher
      • 9 Months Ago
      I recently purchased a 2014 Audi Q5 with Google's nav system integrated. It is less than intuitive to use. I sync my iPhone via Bluetooth but only iPod music functions are supported. According to Audi America, they have "no current plans to support" Apple CarPlay. I will not purchase another car which locks me in and does not permit me to use the iPhone when competitors do. #AudiFail
      r53CooperS
      • 9 Months Ago
      This is all I've wanted ever since the iPhone came out. Why reinvent the wheel? Does that mean NAV is free? Nope, this will most likely cost as much, if not more.
      ctk4949
      • 9 Months Ago
      So im guessing if you dont have a crapple phone you are screwed??
        razorpit
        • 9 Months Ago
        @ctk4949
        If you have a Samscum phone you can't use Apple's solution. You'll have to wait until they have a chance copy it...
      ngiotta
      • 9 Months Ago
      Brilliant strategy to lock the owner of a vehicle into a specific phone, when people keep their cars much longer than a 2-year cellular contract. Unfortunately for Apple, I think the only people that are going to fall for this are already using their phone. If a car's infotainment system cannot handle both iPhone and Android, it's pretty much worthless IMO. Cut out either of those choices and you lose half of your market share.
        Jihuiwen
        • 9 Months Ago
        @ngiotta
        How often does your car's infotainment systems gets updated during its entire lifespan? My guess is none. How often does Apple update their iOS operating system? Every 12 months.
      phlavor
      • 9 Months Ago
      A lot of people here seem to be missing the point. This is an option to access an iPhones basic app through your car's touchscreen. It's not forcing car buyers to choose any phone. Theoretically, Google could have similar implementation in the same car. Apple is just pushing this out first. (i'm not even sure that's true) Wireless will come in the future but for now connections are USB which all phones have. Nothing is proprietary here.
        TMoody
        • 9 Months Ago
        @phlavor
        Indeed. The amount of hate and FUD in these comments is breathtaking.
          mcdull
          • 9 Months Ago
          @TMoody
          A few Sony, JVC and Kenwood stereos support MirrorLink, some Samsung Galaxy phones and Nokia (only Symbian phones) supports it. MirrorLink also has Full Mirroring mode that you can see exactly what's on the phone screen and interact with the phone from the touchscreen. Either car manufacturer should incorporate the Android-based player into their cars or more phone makers should make their phone to support MirrorLink.
      Poe
      • 9 Months Ago
      I wonder why they insist on having to connect the iPhone via USB cable? Why not a wireless Bluetooth connection? I have that ability now with my Android phone (Moto X) and an aftermarket JVC head unit (KW-R910BT) - and ALL aftermarket stereo manufacturers offer this capability. It's MUCH more convenient. Must be an Apple thing... because my head unit offers similar functionality for iOS devices, but only via USB connection.
        Jihuiwen
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Poe
        Because it seems nothing is actually running on your car. It will the iPhone that drives everything that's displayed on your car's screen via CarPlay. Think of it as AirPlay for your car. It's simply too much for Bluetooth to handle. Wireless is option, on the other hand, seems to be "coming soon", my guess is that car manufactures are too slow to add in a wifi based AirPlay receiver to this years line up.
        razorpit
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Poe
        Wireless connection would be nice for the quick trips but think of it this way, you'll still need to plug your phone in to a charger on longer trips so this solution will solve both issues.
      mcdull
      • 9 Months Ago
      I've been using aftermarket 2-DIN 6.1" touchscreen car stereo player running Android 4.1 for months. Streaming my music library with Google Play Music (10K+ songs), video from Youtube and GPS with Waze, iGo or Sygic of my choice and even play Android games with bluetooth game controller. Car manufacturer should step up to incorporate Android-based car stereo which is already well available rather than blindly following Apple (or what the secret the upper management received)
      nekedaw
      • 9 Months Ago
      This could be great for safety as well... cutting back on texting while driving among other dangerous behavior. Word is 4autoinsurancequote will be giving big insurance discounts to people who have the CarPlay installed in their vehicles.
      EricDJ
      • 9 Months Ago
      Problem is a phone specific software. I don't want your iPhone, and I won't buy a car that I can't use my Motorola on. My new GTI is perfect. It does my iPod, my Moto, and my wifes Samsung. If someone rides with me with an iPhone they can use the BT too. But screw just an iPhone car.
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