Apple’s CarPlay Brings iOS in Cars

March 11, 2014

Apple brings its latest technology to automobiles with the introduction of the Apple CarPlay. With the arrival of CarPlay, car owners can have a smart in-car infotainment system that remains updated as their vehicles age.

CarPlay is an in-car system that incorporates one’s iPhone apps with the digital systems of his/her vehicle. This enables the individual to manipulate the automobile’s digital systems as well as the iPhone with more ease. The integration between the device and the car’s systems happens when the iPhone is plugged into the car through USB. Afterward, the driver can utilize the functionality of the device while staying focused on the road.

CarPlay makes it possible for drivers to control their iPhones without having to touch them. They can read text messages, take phone calls, play music, browse through the shops and watch YouTube videos.

Apple’s Greg Joswiak, vice president of iPhone and iOS Product Marketing, said: “CarPlay has been designed from the ground up to provide drivers with an incredible experience using their iPhone in the car.” He added, “iPhone users always want their content at their fingertips and CarPlay lets drivers use their iPhone in the car with minimized distraction.”

Apple gives users three different ways to handle CarPlay and all of them do not require touching or looking at the iPhone.

The first way is through Siri: with the use of Siri, the driver can speak to the car and give it instructions. The individual can instruct the car to read out messages and send a dictated reply, as well as play music from a specific artist or ask for a particular playlist.

Second, the driver can control CarPlay through a touchscreen display. There are vehicles that have touchscreen displays in their dashboards. With the use of such display, one can easily open and close apps. Touchscreen displays are typically featured in newer car models.

Lastly, CarPlay can be manipulated with the use of the knobs or buttons found on the car. These physical controls can be utilized along with Siri and touchscreen options.

The lineup of Apps that can be used with CarPlay include Beats Radio, iHeartRadio, Podcasts, Spotify and Stitcher.

Unfortunately, not all iPhones are compatible with CarPlay. As expected, older models are not equipped to run it. Currently, the compatible versions are iPhone 5S, iPhone 5C and iPhone 5. All the new iPhone versions to be released in the future will be capable of running the new system.

Right now, there are no CarPlay vehicles on the road, but they will be arriving soon. This year, models from Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, Jaguar, Honda and Hyundai are expected to have CarPlay. CarPlay will be launched within the year in the following models: Ferrari FF, Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Volvo XC90 SUV.

CarPlay is not yet found in any of the vehicles on the road, but this early it is getting criticism from safety advocates after it debuted at the Geneva Motor Show. The infotainment system is perceived as a major distraction to drivers in a time when distracted driving is already a growing problem among motorists.

Bruce Hamilton, AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s manager of research and communications, told CNN Money: “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.”

National Safety Council’s David Teater echoed this sentiment: “The auto industry and the consumer electronics industry are really in an arms race to see how we can enable drivers to do stuff other than driving.”

According to a 2013 study by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, the reaction times of drivers doubled regardless if they were manually texting or dictating their messages through voice-to-text applications such as Siri, CNN Money reported.

Photo credit: Sam Churchill/ Flickr/ CC BY

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