Apple Inc(AAPL-NASDAQ) calls CarPlay as a safer and smarter way to use your iPhone in the car. A distraction free interface “Black screen background”, “Don’t disturb” screen while driving mode will not distract with notifications while driving. Apple claims this as an Apple in-car experience, rivaled by Android Auto yet Apple CarPlay is widely used and accepted by most of the Automomobile Manufacturers.
What is CarPlay?
Apple CarPlay is an apple interface for cars it is not a complete in car iOS system nor is it a complete replacement of a Car Infotainment System. Apple CarPlay is a basic version of iOS designed especially for a car that overtakes the infotainment system interface provided by the carmaker. It changes your car’s built-in display to a version of your iPhone and permits you to access all the data stored on your Apple device while driving. It does all this with the help of the buttons or knobs on your infotainment system or voice commands. Apple CarPlay needs an Apple iPhone 5 or later with at least OS 7.1 to work, the same infotainment can also have Android Auto inbuilt that also is similar in car infotainment platform by Google Android.
Apple CarPlay carries out many basic functions similar to iPhone while focussing on layout and colors that have the least distraction on the driver. A driver can get directions, make calls, send and receive messages, listen to his choice of music and podcasts. Apple CarPlay does all this with the help of Siri voice commands. Siri is an intelligent personal assistant that gets and responds to the commands by voice. The Siri button is usually located on the steering wheel for easy access. Apple calls CarPlay as a smarter and safer way to use your iPhone in the car.
Android Auto is a similar interface provided on to the infotainment system that enables the driver to mirror the Android phone to the Car infotainment system. Android Auto, however, has few differences like, Android Auto can also be inbuilt within the infotainment system also Google has launched Android Auto App that doesn’t need vehicular data.
History of Apple CarPlay.
BMW Group’s Technology Office the USA and Apple Inc. jointly developed the infamous Apple iOS 4 feature called the “iPod out”. The iPod Out was first announced during the WWDC 2010 and was first made available for purchase as an implemented infrastructure in BMW vehicles in early 2011. iPod Out would enable the vehicle’s built-in display to host video and audio from another supporting iOS device. The inputs were controlled with the help of the buttons and knobs on the infotainment system of the cars. Apple’s Eddy Cue called it as iOS in the car.
Over the year’s development of this concept resulted in today’s Apple CarPlay. The first automakers to launch Apple CarPlay were Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz, and Volvo in 2014. In September 2014, a Ferrari FF was the first car with a fully equipped CarPlay.
Cars with Apple Car Play.
All major vehicle makers are seeking out for CarPlay options in their cars. Apple boasts of more than 40 different car brands on the list that offer more than 200 models of cars to be chosen from. There are options from basic sedans like Chevrolet Spark to high-end luxury cars like Ferrari. Hence, it would be true to say that finding a new car with CarPlay software would be easy in today’s car market, especially in North America. Statistics show that the European carmakers have shown slow progress towards accepting this technology.
Car makers who do not offer CarPlay, in the present, but have partnered with Apple in supporting CarPlay are Jaguar Land Rover brands and Mazda.
However, Toyota is an exception. Toyota is the only carmaker that is against CarPlay and Google’s similar software called the Android Auto. It cites privacy and safety reasons for opposing this technology. However, there is a possibility that Toyota might reconsider its decision once it is convinced that CarPlay is a safe option that protects its customer’s data and it helps drivers stay focused on the road.
Siri in CarPlay:
Siri is the best part about Apple CarPlay. Apple’s digital assistant can help you find desired destinations, to get you to the nearest coffee shop, to help you make phone calls and receive your messages and listen to your favorite soundtrack without having to touch iPhone or the infotainment screen. Siri also acknowledged that you are behind the wheel and customises its answers accordingly (e.g. Siri will refrain from reading long yelp reviews that are of no particular use while driving).
One can summon Siri in different ways depending on the car model. Tapping and holding the digital home button on CarPlay screen can prompt Siri or one can press and hold the Bluetooth button in the vehicles that provide one.
New DND feature in CarPlay:
During the WWDC 2017, Apple introduced a new “Do Not Disturb” mode while Driving in iOS11. While driving this feature does not send you any notifications. The phone will use Bluetooth or Doppler to understand that you are driving a car and automatically activate the mode. You can adjust settings to auto reply anyone calling or messaging you that you are behind the wheel. If you try to turn on your phone on the feature would remind you of the obvious, that you are operating a moving car. This new feature adds as a safety measure by helping the driver to keep his eyes on the road.
CarPlay Aftermarket Systems.
Apple CarPlay has been on the market for a relatively short period of time and hence, the options of used cars that support CarPlay are few. Only 2016 models or newer models are compatible with CarPlay. This is why companies like Alpine, JBL, JVC, Kenwood, Pioneer, Sony offer aftermarket Apple CarPlay in-dash infotainment systems that support CarPlay.
Few cars that are only a year or two old have an upgrade option from their carmakers. E.g., latest Ford sync, Hyundai offer upgrade options.
Some of the leading aftermarket options available for Apple CarPlay aftermarket radio are:
Pioneer CarPlay System:
Pioneer CarPlay system has some of the premium infotainment system available as a part of aftermarket solution. Pioneer’s AVIC-F80BT receiver retails for $900 is a top of the line product with all features of a modern infotainment system. This system also has Android Auto and Apple CarPlay functionality into a single device thus making it a featured product into the segment.
Kenwood CarPlay System:
Kenwood infotainment Systems like DNX9170S is also Apple CarPlay and Android Auto Compatible it features Built-in Mirroring, high-resolution Audio, also has some minimal ADAS integration available over the system.
Apple CarPlay Apps.
Once you have connected your iPhone to Apple CarPlay, your infotainment system is transformed to a giant iPhone screen. The apps that CarPlay offers are displayed on the main screen as a grid of large icons that are exactly like the ones on an iPhone home screen.
CarPlay has an option of a fixed, default set up of apps. For safety reasons, only the apps that are essential while driving and that do not cause unnecessary distractions are included in CarPlay. The apps available are Phone, Music, Maps, Messages, Podcasts, Audio books, No Playing. On the left side of the grid, time and cellular connection meter are shown. Below that is an iPhone digitized home button that takes you back to the home screen or activates Siri.
Majority of the apps can be controlled by Siri voice commands. E.g., Siri helps you make calls. You just need to tap on the phone and Siri asks you for the no name of the person you need to call.
The messages are also driven by Siri. A voice inquiries for the name you want to send a message to and the message to be dictated. This Siri does all the functionality as of a Siri on iPhone’s. You can even access your iTunes, Apple Music Membership using CarPlay. And no doubt Siri can be commanded to play the track of your choice.
Apple CarPlay Apps(Third Party):
Only a selected array of third party music and audio apps are compatible with CarPlay. A complete list of Apple apps can be searched for in the Apple Store under the name CarPlay.
Some of the best Apple Car Play Apps are:
Deezer: An Online music player with access to millions of tracks, it can play any song with lyrics allowing to sing along with the song. The app is free to download and has a premium option for no ads and higher quality of songs.
TuneIn is one of the leading online Radio with over 100000 stations. It enables to stream online radio from any part of the world. The premium version features sports and audiobooks available for download.
Other apps are:
Some of the commonly asked questions on Apple CarPlay.
Does CarPlay assume all dashboard functions?
No, CarPlay does not carry out so, the functions of a traditional dashboard. E.g., one cannot ask Siri to adjust the temperature in the vehicle or use car play to switch between radio channels. These functions could be managed by voice commands to the vehicle’s own speech-recognition system.
Nonetheless, CarPlay works in sync with other systems of the car to improve safety and reduce distractions. Also, in some vehicles CarPlay can assume an Apple Interface, meaning that the display will not show any other options in the car infotainment system for accessing radio stations or adjusting A/C setting. For these functions, one would have to get out of CarPlay which makes it a confusing task. To offer a solution, some carmakers offer CarPlay in split screen format, where the car’s built-in system assumes half side a d CarPlay another half.
And in some cases like Hyundai vehicles, a Hyundai home screen icon appears next to the Apple apps that take you to the main screen of the Infotainment.
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