At the World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC), Apple showed off a new iPhone operating system and new ways to video conference, as well as the next generation of CarPlay.
The mission is simple. The newest version of CarPlay will fully integrate all of your vehicle’s dashboard screens into one Apple ecosystem.
Today, Apple CarPlay mirrors the functions of the iPhone, in a simple fashion for drivers to use in their infotainment screen while on the go.
The company says CarPlay will soon let users control the radio and change the climate without exiting the system, which sometimes is a convoluted process. It will also allow CarPlay to access vehicle data for speed, fuel level and other measurements that were previously on analog gauges.
“Apple’s substantial expansion of CarPlay’s capabilities across the entire driver environment is likely a peek at a fully immersive in-vehicle Apple experience that the tech giant is working towards,” Ed Kim, President and chief analyst at AutoPacific told Newsweek.
“Much has been said about the ‘Apple Car,’ but rather than Apple becoming a full-fledged automaker, the available information out there seems to point to the company working to develop a fully integrated experience that involves everything from autonomous driving using Siri as an input device, full e-commerce capabilities while driving, and revenue sharing agreements between Apple and its partners that are involved,” Kim said.
He also said that a halo car may come along, but that Apple wants to be in more than just one model.
There’s also more digital real estate to deal with in modern cars, which means more places for Apple products.
“It makes sense that Apple is doing this as vehicle display interfaces become more diverse. Jeep offers up to seven screens, with larger portrait and landscape displays. Lincoln has started including pillar to pillar displays in the new Zephyr in China and coming to its new EVs in 2024,” Sam Abuelsamid, principal analyst at Guidehouse Insights told Newsweek.
With the new system users can also customize their own digital instrument cluster, adding apps and weather, time and calendar widgets as they see fit. The illustration features a wide digital screen running from the instrument cluster to the passenger side, as well as a more traditional touchscreen display below it.
“The newest version of CarPlay demonstrates an early vision of what that embedded Apple Car experience might look like, even if it might not incorporate the rumored Siri-activated autonomous drive and e-commerce features,” said Kim. “It gets the customer accustomed to the idea of an Apple interface in the car that extends far past the center infotainment screen. In the end, it helps prepare consumers for Apple’s eventual embedded in-car experience that is expected later this decade.”
CarPlay is currently offered by almost every manufacturer in the U.S., but its main competitor in the smartphone integration world is catching up. Covering the bulk of the manufacturers, Android Auto is still missing on a few premium vehicles.
However, in Volvo, Polestar and others Android isn’t just integrated, it’s the backbone of the system. That’s the piece of the puzzle that Apple doesn’t have yet.
“Google’s Android Automotive OS (not to be confused with Android Auto) is a different take on a similar idea, using a fully embedded OS to provide a Google in-car experience, which is a contrast from the next generation CarPlay continuing to rely on the driver’s iPhone,” said Kim.
“Still, both the next generation Apple CarPlay and Android Automotive OS are aiming for a similar goal, which is providing the driver with a very familiar interface in the vehicle as well as ultimately providing opportunities for Apple/Google, the automakers, and e-commerce partners to monetize the driver’s time in the vehicle.”
The company says more information will be shared soon, and the system will debut next year.