Apple's "iPhone in the car" gets a new name: CarPlay

Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo will show off CarPlay integration this week

Technology trends and news by Steven Loeb
March 3, 2014
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Stop me if you've heard this story before: iOS and Android are going head to head in the same space, each trying to get a heads up on the other. This time it is in the car integration space.

Apple was on the forefront of putting its operating into cars before it got some competition from Google earlier this year. So now Apple is stepping up its game a bit, with a new name, and some exciting news about the service's integration.

Previously known as "iOS in the Car," Apple's vehicle integration service has a new name: it will now be known as "CarPlay," it was unveiled at an auto show in Geneva on Monday.

More exciting than that, though, was the news that vehicles from Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo will premiere CarPlay to their drivers this week, though the service will be available yet. It will be rolled out in select cars shipping later  this year.

Other manufacturers, including 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, will be bringing CarPlay to their drivers "down the road."

Apple first made the announcement of its car integration plans back at the WWDC 2013 keynote in June of last year. It said at the time that it would be making deals with car manufacturers to integrate more features from iOS into their cars, including maps and iMessages.

That is apparently exactly what the company did. Users connect their iPhone to their vehicle with CarPlay integration, and then Siri will help them access their contacts, make calls, return missed calls or listen to voicemails.

When incoming messages or notifications come in, Siri allows the driver to respond to requests through voice commands. It read the message and let drivers them dictate responses or make a call.

Drivers can also use CarPlay to access Maps and listen to music.

CarPlay can actually anticipate where the driver is going, based on recent trips via contacts, emails or texts. Obviously, the driver can also ask Siri, will then provide spoken turn-by-turn directions, along with Maps, which will appear on your car’s built-in display. 

For music, CarPlay allows the driver to access all of their music, podcasts, audiobooks and iTunes Radio. CarPlay also supports select third-party audio apps including Spotify and iHeartRadio.

Users can control CarPlay from the car’s native interface or just push-and-hold the voice control button on the steering wheel to activate Siri.

The fact that this technology is already being released might put some pressure on Google, which was a little late coming into the game

The company announced in January the creation of the the Open Automotive Alliance (OAA), along with a number of manufacturers, including Audi, GM, Honda, Hyundai and Nvidia. The point of the Alliance is for automakers and developers to deliver a product to customers, which will be both familiar and consistent across multiple brands. 

Basically, drivers will be able to get into any car and automatically know how to use the system, which will also make it easier for developers to work within that system.

If Google succeeds in setting the standard for vehicle integration, it could push CarPlay out as more manufacturers could opt for the universal system.

Whatever happens, I'm all for this type of technology, as it helps driver activate these features without having to take their eyes off the road or be distracted. I've made my stance on technology on cars clear; I am fully against it. 

If these services can allow people to be on their phones while driving, while not giving them new distractions, then I am all for it.

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