Sounding more like a Google offering than one from Apple, the iPhone maker formally announced “CarPlay.” The service was previewed last year and is being rolled out in vehicles from Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo at the Geneva International Motor Show this week.
Other car makers that are part of the program include BMW, Ford, GM, Honda, Hyundai Motor Company, Jaguar Land Rover, Kia, Mitsubishi, Nissan and Toyota among a few others.
CarPlay is built around calls, messaging, music and maps currently. Siri is the eyes-free/hands-free controller of the overall CarPlay experience, although touch-screens are also part of CarPlay:
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.
As indicated, not all apps or iPhone functions will be available through CarPlay though the list will expand and there will likely be new apps or new versions of familiar apps developed specifically for CarPlay. The service will be available on 2014 models. But users will need an iPhone 5 or higher to access the service.
Google has a competitive “connected car” initiative modeled on its successful “Open Handset Alliance,” launched to promote Android. Google’s “Open Automotive Alliance” is being supported by Audi, GM, Honda and Hyundai so far. Others will likely join the list. Microsoft is behind Sync, which is used by which by Ford and Toyota.
Below is a Volvo-made promotional video demonstrating CarPlay integration.
Postscript: Some third party music-related apps are already appearing (with more promised soon).