Apple's CarPlay infotainment system hasn't made it into a single vehicle yet, and it's already drawing criticism for distracting drivers among safety advocates. The new tech unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show pairs users' iPhones with the car's dashboard display to make calls, dictate messages and listen to music. Some automakers, like Volvo, also let users interact with the HVAC system from the screen.

"The idea that people want to be on their phones, and therefore let's give them a way to do that -- that's not putting safety first, that's putting convenience and the desire to be in touch first," said Bruce Hamilton, manager of research and communications at the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, to CNN Money.

Distracted driving is a huge concern on modern roads with more vehicles allowing drivers to use their smartphones through Bluetooth and infotainment systems. A Texas A&M study found that drivers' reaction time doubled while dictating text messages, according to CNN Money. The new tech is certainly not making drivers pay more attention.

Apple knows that inattentive drivers are a major cause of concern and addressed it in their press release, saying: "CarPlay lets drivers use their iPhone in the car with minimized distraction." Still, none of the models with the tech are available yet. It's hard to make quality judgments until it is actually on the road.

The new system will debut later this year in some Volvo, Ferrari and Mercedes-Benz vehicles. Apple claims to be working on future deals with BMW, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Jaguar, Land Rover, Nissan, Subaru, Toyota and more. For automakers, the tech means a common standard and potentially less money invested into bespoke infotainment systems. Apple gets even more people using its software. Scroll down for Volvo's video preview of CarPlay.


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  • 70 Comments
      GRRRR32
      • 9 Months Ago
      I am amused how this is pointed at Apple's Carplay. Doesn't hold for all the systems out there? I've used rental cars with a number of these systems and found them all distracting and cumbersome. We need to appreciate that knobs and switches can be operated by feel not requiring vision. It's further complicated when the buttons are spread over multiple screens. We have a long way to go in our thinking about these systems. Guess the hired guns are at work again firing at a manufacturer rather than the concepts.
      Krazeecain
      • 9 Months Ago
      Why are automakers jumping on this? They should be supporting an open platform like android instead, which each automaker could customize to fit their brand more closely. I don't see any advantage to going exclusively apple...
        tump
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Krazeecain
        You DON'T have to go "exclusively" Apple - multiple interfaces can exist within the same head unit.
      Koenigsegg
      • 9 Months Ago
      real drivers are focused on the road when driving, stupid apps dont concern us or garner our attention.
      Mykeljon
      • 9 Months Ago
      And why should this be any more distracting than existing touch screen systems? Whether it comes from Ford or GM or Chrysler or Apple is irrelevant. Touch screens do not belong in cars. Let's please go back to easy-to-use knobs and buttons.
        Krazeecain
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Mykeljon
        Touch screens are fine, as long as there are also buttons and/or knobs as well, so you can change the volume/switch songs without looking. Having a larger touchscreen could actually be safer, as it's more legible so you can read it faster, meaning less time looking away from the road.
          Val
          • 9 Months Ago
          @Krazeecain
          Changing volume, switching songs, answering the phone and many other functions are done with buttons on the steering wheel. This is the least distracting place to put buttons on, no need to take your hands of the wheel, and after a few weeks you already know where the buttons are and can use them without looking down.
      Myself
      • 9 Months Ago
      Sure it is, Apple stuff always draws all sorts of concerns, compared to, say, Google stuff that does exactly the same. I don't remember CNN raising concerns with the BMW implementation of Android... It's just that putting Apple in the headline attracts more clicks.
      malgu
      • 9 Months Ago
      Apple's statement "CarPlay lets drivers use their iPhone in the car with minimized distraction." reads like this: Drivers can use their iPhone without being distracted by driving Good move Apple /s
      Making11s
      • 9 Months Ago
      Why is everyone so excited for an Apple-specific system when we already have systems like Sync, Uvo, MyLink and others that already were compatible with multiple platforms? It seems like a very limiting step backwards.
        tump
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Making11s
        Ask Ford why…
        bonehead
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Making11s
        I think its cause they believe apple will do it right, then google will copy it better and then it will be everywhere. At that point we can all play angry birds with our cars .... literally
      11fiveoh
      • 9 Months Ago
      Apple is the toyota of electronics. They should partner.
        Steve
        • 9 Months Ago
        @11fiveoh
        market share says otherwise. Android has far more users than iOS
          Luc K
          • 9 Months Ago
          @Steve
          Exactly why I don't want this iOs vs Android in cars.... Car is mainstay, smartphones keep changing. And really how much other things do you need to do in your car than listening to music or entering address? Both of these things are really not that awful in most newer cars. Nothing complex required for that.
      jcar302
      • 9 Months Ago
      I don't think people that read autoblog have to worry about this apple system. Real auto enthusiasts don't care about this crap and don't want it. I bet the majority is good with bluetooth calling and playing their music. The last time i drove a vehicle with the sync that controls everything (in a lincoln), half way through adjusting the heat i decided it would be less of a headache to just leave it and be cold. Less is more on the console when it comes to keeping your eyes on the road. I loved tech and gadgets, i just don't need them when driving.
        tump
        • 9 Months Ago
        @jcar302
        No True Scotsman much? "Real" auto enthusiasts care about cars and everything in them, including gadgets. Speak for yourself.
        Brian Calhoun
        • 9 Months Ago
        @jcar302
        Umm its annoying as hell trying to get iDrive to switch to my Initial D Megamix at speed in canyons, so if I could have Siri handle it I would.
      bofdem
      • 9 Months Ago
      Like this is any worse than my 2014 Acura MDX. Oh wait it's 1000x better... than the distracting excuse for an infotainment system Honda is shoving into cars. Blame: ALPINE.
        Luc K
        • 9 Months Ago
        @bofdem
        Acura's systems aren't great and slow for most part. Voice recognition could be better too. But if you look at other systems then that's really Acura's fault. With both Ford sync and Audi MMI you can enter entire address by voice and it has better integration with other smartphone systems.
      Toddley
      • 9 Months Ago
      This has only received attention because people love to complain about Apple. There are dozens and dozens of other systems out, most of them far worse, and Apple gets negative attention for something that doesn't even exist yet. Silly.
        citidriver
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Toddley
        Because Apple is so good, it's more likely that people will feel very comfortable using it whenever they f...ing want. So if they are on Temple Run 2 and swipe a little to hard, hopefully you wont be in the lane next to them.
      csrecord
      • 9 Months Ago
      They should be going away from touch screens and refining voice command systems.
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