Apple announces CarPlay: In-car system coming to Ferrari, Honda, Mercedes and Volvo this year (Update)

Ian Hardy

March 3, 2014 7:42 am

Apple has officially announced CarPlay, an in-car system that is destined to take over your dashboard. CarPlay is being dubbed as “the smarter, safer and more fun way to use iPhone in the car” and “will be available in select cars shipping in 2014.”

A plethora of auto manufacturers are already on board: Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo will be showing off CarPlay at the Geneva International Motor Show this week, but BMW Group, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover, Kia, Mitsubishi, Nissan, PSA Peugeot Citroën, Subaru, Suzuki and Toyota have all committed to bring CarPlay into their vehicles.

Screen Shot 2014-03-03 at 7.44.16 AM

CarPlay will have an interface similar to iOS 7 and heavily integrate Siri to allow iPhone users with iOS 7 to make and receive calls, use Maps, listen to music and access messages “with just a word or a touch.” Users access CarPlay by pressing the dashboard display, or through the embedded voice control button on the steering wheel. Apple noted in the press release that “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.”

Screen Shot 2014-03-03 at 7.44.29 AM

CarPlay will be available sometime this year in unknown vehicles from the Ferrari, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo. As for specific countries, Canada made it on the list along with Australia, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Republic of Korea, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States. No indication yet on how carriers plan to embrace and adopt CarPlay. CarPlay will be available as an update to iOS 7 and is compatible with Lightning-enabled iPhones.

Update: Volvo has released a teaser trailer showing what integration with an existing touch-based dash would look like. The user interface is a mix of iOS and traditional large-icon terminals, and the included apps appear to be simplified versions of their iPhone counterparts.

Update #2: It seems that BlackBerry is powering part of Apple CarPlay with QNX. N4BB is reporting that QNX exec Paul Leroux stated:

“Connectivity to smartphones and other mobile devices is a key strength of QNX Software Systems’ platform for car infotainment systems, and many automakers and tier one automotive suppliers use our platform to implement smartphone/head-unit integration in their vehicles. We have a long-standing partnership with Apple to ensure high-quality connectivity with their devices, and this partnership extends to support for Apple CarPlay.'”

Source: Apple

  • J-Ro

    This is huge right now for mobile makers.

    • It’s Me

      I’m not so sure. I think it is certainly a demographics play. They do their market research and they know where the money is and it skews towards Apple.

      But there are lots of players in this field and more on the way. The infotainment system is a way to differentiate their brands, so I expect some will end up migrating to other platforms, if only to stand out (which isn’t always a good thing if not well executed). Microsoft, Google, BB, Nuance, etc will all be amping up their efforts in this space.

    • J-Ro

      That sounds like the automotive industry is going to be very interesting in the next coming years. I hope all this cool tech doesn’t effect the new low prices we have been starting to see.

    • Raj Brar

      Actually, this is running on QNX. Google will also be looking to make an app to connect Android for infotech systems.

  • Stephen_81

    This is Apple AirPlay for incar. I guess it is a good thing for people who love Apple, and I am happy that is actually doesn’t do anything with vital car systems so I wouldn’t be against a car that had AirPlay since I’d never interact with it nor would I be trusting my safety to Apple

    • motivotto

      I’m sure you think you know what you’re trying to insinuate, but a little more education would do you well.

    • Stephen_81

      Please educate me.

      Apple CarPlay will run ontop of Systems like that produced by GENIVI Alliance, or BlackBerry’s QNX, It is basically an app for their systems to interface with Apple products, namely iPhone5, 5C, 5S.

    • J-Ro

      So automakers will be paying 2 companies to do something only 1 needs to do. Sounds like a waste of licensing money to me.

    • Stephen_81

      Yes, but it really is no different than if you went to Tim Hortons for a donut and then to McDonalds for a Coffee.

      You are buying each layer or component. and since Apple CarPlay is only for iPhone 5 variants and up the car companies would also need an infotainment system for other drivers. So in reality Apple CarPlay is more the Tim Hortons donut you buy after buying your McDonalds meal. It is extra for those that want that little bit extra

    • J-Ro

      That is a very good way of putting it. I wonder if they will have a Apple care+ package for cars in the near future.

    • Stalemate

      So in theory, it would be possible for Google / Android to supply their own interface running on the QNX foundation?

      Interesting.

    • alexandre ho xandrex

      yes they can but it will be a partnership between the QNX team and the Android apps team.

    • It’s Me

      Since it’s marketed as an infotainment system, your point is sort of pointless.

      In keeping with such relevant comments, I would also not trust google to raise my children. Wait, who announced that? Why am I making comments about something no one announced? This isn’t as much fun as you make it seem.

    • J-Ro

      Maybe he is afraid of Siri taking the information in his car and relaying it to the NSA. The last thing we want is the American government knowing how we like our coffee or that we hate traffic.

      I think we should start a petition.

    • Stephen_81

      The “infotainment systems” often are used as the catch all for indash systems, which can control more than just your music and audio. They can be used for crucial notifications of systems, The System Google is developing which is being classed as Infotrainment actually connects with vital systems and isn’t a skin ontop.

      I am pleased that Apple is taking this route as it doesn’t mean the heart of my potential car is influenced, and any Apple hater doesn’t have any reason now to hate Apple CarPlay in their car as it doesn’t control anything.

    • It’s Me

      I think you are making a ton of presumptions on exactly what Google’s mythical system will be. “Projected Mode” (google it) doesn’t seem to be much more, if even at the same level, as CarPlay. I am sure google has plans to take it further. Their business requires that they become more involved for information collection on the drivers, but when it first comes out of the vapour, it won’t be more than an Android version of CarPlay, if that.

    • Stephen_81

      Google is also in the Open Automotive Alliance which has a mandate to retool Android for more indepth car connectivity beyond just your mobile device on the dash.

      Though I do agree with you that the first gen that is expected to be seen in Honda, Audi this year is likely just a infotainment component and the internal workings will still be handled by an experienced vendor.

    • Josh Brown

      The glare from your Tin Foil Hat is blinding me. Can you take it off?

    • Stephen_81

      My lack of appreciation for how Apple handles public communication of a non marketing related matters has nothing to do with a tin foil hat. Neither my distaste for the iOS UI, a Forced Apple UI in car would remove the car company from my buying list, like VW’s in the 90’s with their Purple and red dash illumination. But being an optional purely superficial component to the car means that it doesn’t restrict any vehicle from my purchasing plans

  • Z A

    Seem “Play” is the buzzword these days, AirPlay, Google Play, CarPlay

    • Chris

      When Google gets their self-driving car technology on the road and starts Google Play Car, bam, sued by Apple.

    • Z A

      Yup, I see it coming.

  • fashu

    i hope they will be using google maps and not iMaps – i don’t feel like driving off a cliff.

    • Stephen_81

      Does Siri work with Google Maps when installed on your device?
      If it does you probably have a chance at using it on your CarPlay, if it doesn’t then ONLY iMaps will be your option.

      if I was Apple I’d be making it an iMaps requirement.

    • alphs22

      Ever actually used Apple maps in the last year? Of course not.

    • Stalemate

      So those guys they hired from the Google Maps project team worked out for them I’m guessing.

    • alphs22

      Well whatever it is, it’s working. I haven’t had any problems looking up places and addresses.

    • It’s Me

      Anyone that would let their GPS take them over a cliff would simply be allowing Darwinism to work.

    • Mayoo

      Do the world a favor and stop driving if you are the type of people to fall down a cliff just because a computer told you so.

      ;-)

  • MXM4K

    Now the biggest question will be how does it play with other mobile platforms such as Android, Windows, and BlackBerry? As long as it maintains the core functionality (make/receive calls, message dictation) then I think this will be a hit. If all this is restricted to iOS only, then I foresee many disgruntled consumers.

    • Stephen_81

      It is an iOS only addon,
      The Cars will be running BlackBerry QNX (Mercs) or some other underlying system for other peoples needs. But if you’re an Apple person they are giving you the ability to interface with your Apple product

    • It’s Me

      Exactly. There will be nothing preventing a car company from also supporting Android devices (Projected Mode) or BB or Windows. This is simply a way to provide a higher level of integration between your iPhone and your car. They can do the same for any other platform concurrently.

    • Sweet

      “There will be nothing preventing a car company from also supporting Android devices (Projected Mode) or BB or Windows.”

      Agreed. But Apple could try to sign exclusive deals with these car companies, such that CarPlay is the only system offered by said car companies. I’m not sure what Apple could offer that would motivate a car company to sign such a deal, and I’m not even sure it would be legal — it might violate anti-competitive laws.

      Hopefully car manufacturers will allow customers to choose which platform they want intstalled in their cars.

      It makes no difference to me, since I use transit. :-)

    • Stephen_81

      Apple can’t really do that since Apple is just an app layer ontop of existing systems. BlackBerry QNX and a host of linux systems all actually power the notifications and connectivity Apples CarPlay is essentially an App launcher ontop of the work other people have done. So other connectable systems are already inside the car.

    • Sweet

      When I said ‘system’ I meant the app layer. Apple could try to sign exclusive deals with car makers such that CarPlay is the only app layer available on their cars.

    • Elias Chiddicks

      Ahh, thanks for this clarification. I was wondering.

  • RG

    No “i” in the name? fail ;)

    • alexandre ho xandrex

      “iCAR” was not serious, or maybe too dangerous regarding burning your wings… ;)

  • framing god

    Wow looks like choice just went down the drain. Apple makes good stuff but most smart people use something else by now.

    • It’s Me

      How in the world does this reduce choice?

  • Striker67

    Why would anyone want anything more than to interface with the music side of their phone in their car.

    • It’s Me

      Whether we like it or not, the fact is that people will do things in their car that not just take their focus away but will take their eyes off the road. Being able to listen to your messages and reply or select a song or playlist or call a contact without taking your eyes off the road will at least help in that regard.

      People are going to be doing these things anyway, so if the car companies can at least help them do with with as little distraction from the road as possible, shouldn’t they?

    • Stephen_81

      In Car I would like my Phone to connect and do the following.
      GPS from Contact location to Contact location such that I could say ” take me to John smith Work via John Smith Home” and my route would be made from my contact info.
      Voice commands from my address book without loading my address book into the car.
      I’d like to have an App in my Phone that records who/when/duration of visits to locations when connected to the car so I can see how long I am spending with clients and at which locations I visit without having to manually take a log.
      I’d like to beable to plot a course at home and upload it to the car if I know my day is going to have 8 stops I’ve planned that but the car systems currently don’t let me program that in.

      For most people they’ll want as you mentioned music items in there are and some audiophiles have a lot of demands from music selection that possibly can be better handled by a system that can be interface with and connected to a computer more often than the in dash system.

      I can also see Parents looking to have connectivity with the phone/car and having user accounts tied to phones instead of tied to special keys, would cost less and be more adaptable.

  • joe biden

    what’s the difference between this and hondalink?

    • Stephen_81

      The user interface familiarity between your iOS device and your dashboard as well as using Siri for all voice needs instead of the system Hondalink uses.

      HondaLink will STILL likely be in your vehicle for when connecting a NON iOS device

  • WTangoFoxtrot

    wait….apple Maps integration on the dashboard ?? Do we really want that ? If that’s the case im actually going to have to boycott these car manufacturers….for personal safety ofcourse

    • It’s Me

      Better get used to walking.

    • Me Ted

      Android user here but come on now. I think it’s safe to say that Apple maps has probably addressed a lot, if not all of those concerns by now.

    • MXH070

      Nope… just this.last Friday one of my staff decided to use his iPhone and apples maps over the gps unit in the vehicle. Long story but apples maps took him completely the opposite direction and completely lost. So there are a lot of bugs still in apple maps that need to be worked on.

    • Comrade Yeti

      Anecdotal evidence is only that, but just last month a local Whitby address refused to search properly in Apple maps. It kept finding a similar address in Vaughn. Nothing I could do would find the Whitby location. Google maps had it right of course.

    • Me Ted

      Wow. It looks like I stand corrected.

  • Me Ted

    This looks really promising especially if you’re heavily invested in the Apple ecosystem. Unfortunately I fall into camp B – “others” – with my mobile allegiance tied to Android and all things Google. I’m wondering if there’s something like this for the other 75% of the world’s mobile users on the horizon. Let’s hope so.

    • It’s Me

      Yes. It’s called “Projection Mode” from Google. Benz is already announced to be working on it, as will Audi.

      This is not a a case of either/or. A car company can support multiple modules for different OSes.

    • Me Ted

      Even better then. Although Audi and Benz might be a little out of my price range. :) Here’s hoping it manages to find its way into the hands of the likes of Honda, Toyota, Hyundai etc. etc.

    • HatInTheRing

      Don’t fret, far more auto makers are going the route of Android, QNX and some are using a combination of the 2.

      I tried to find the article from a few months ago, I thought it was on Engadget. It was all about the infotainment battle.

      iOS will have a niche few and these will still work with Android.

    • David Malloy

      Parrot Asteroid Smart is an Android based Head Unit which has been out for a while. While the software is outdated, I’m holding off for something a bit more modern before I pick one up to install in my vehicle.

  • Guest

    it looks nice.. my only hope is that hopefully we could go and buy a car that had a stereo that supported the OS of our choice. Or have the option for a normal stereo. What happens if I decide I don’t want an iPhone after 2 years,, then I’m stuck with a useless basic stereo.

    • HatInTheRing

      They would never do this. Cutting out 3/4 of the market because they don’t own the right phone is a mistake no manufacturer would make. Especially knowing how loyal people are to their phones.

      People would be personally insulted if they walked into a Mercedes dealership to buy an $85,000 car that doesn’t have navigation or music because they own an Android (or windows phone or blackberry). The market is too competitive. They’d go next door to SAAB, BMW, Lexus or Audi (audi has Android in-car coming this year).

  • leobg

    Pioneer has been doing this more or less with their AppRadio enabled head units for couple of years now. And it isn’t limited to iPhones only either (Android works too).

  • arj_85

    I don’t know how well this will sit with lawmakers, especially with them just raising the fines in Ontario for ‘Distracted Driving’.
    I saw the demo of Car Play in action posted by Volvo and am pretty sure using this system while driving qualifies as distracted driving. Yes, I realize that this isn’t a handheld device but it lets you text, change music tracks, get directions and more while driving which can all be done through a smartphone and thus is equally distracting.

    • jndvrk

      A fair point on distracted driving in general. But is this any different than any existing in-dash system?

    • arj_85

      I feel the ability to customize and add apps to this system makes this more of a liability than current in dash systems which are pretty basic as of now.
      I believe that the lack of knobs and dials will require the user to look at the screen and that means you have to take your eyes of the road for more than a brief second, but that is possibly just my opinion.

    • Stephen_81

      You need to get into more cars if you think that in dash systems are pretty basic. Cadillac and Porsche both have lots going on when you have the in dash Nav. Even Fords basic indash nav system is busy enough.

      The Distracted driving laws are for handheld devices and removable devices if it is in dash within the visible range of the driver it will have regulations that it must follow and as such will be legal to control whilst driving.
      I for one am not a fan of the all touch inputs in the car and appreciate the lastest generation Ford cars for bringing back buttons even with full touch commands available, If I have to rent something I always ask for a Ford.

  • Wufai

    I hope there will be aftermarket options as well. My Sony XB64 does that job well enough with music, but I won’t mind maps integration on my yaris as well

    • kaostheory

      Sony xsp-n1bt

  • kaostheory

    Rather have the Sony xsp-n1bt cradle or something like it. It allows for any device. Being that most people upgrade their phone/tab every year but keep their car longer. Car companies should be using this type of tech, it only makes sense.

  • EvanKrosney

    Hopefully this becomes a growing segment in the next few years. I’m not a huge fan of Apple products, but I admit that something like this with an improved interface would be nice. Bring it to Hyundai!

  • Akaz1976

    This most likely an App for your car that runs on top of what ever OS (car OS not mobile OS) that car is running. So likely will be an optional software feature that could be enabled or disabled. Hopefully over time, car makers will have all 4 options (iOS, Andriod, WP & BB10) available so you could change to which ever one you liked from settings in you console

  • hoo dat

    Deleted. Should have read all the way through before commenting! ;)

  • Tyhudg

    I am sure it will be great, I find it amusing though that none of the auto makers that the great ‘Red White and Blue Apple’ partnered with were founded in the US, where Apple is still king.

  • Alejandro Díaz

    It runs on QNX LOL.

  • nosnhoj

    hopefully there are some manufactures that won’t use Apple, or where will I get a new car.

  • Amused_Droid

    I’m a full supporter of Android and an active skeptic of Apple’s current lineup of products but one thing they’ve always been able to do is create a very effective system (albeit a very closed one) when the user is completely immersed.
    With that in mind,
    This is genius and will probably help lock in more users (i.e. children of folks who buy a nice new car with this in it). If the implementation of this is done right and it becomes more common in mid range cars then this will be a noticeable “Mic-Drop” from Apple.