Screenshot by Re/code
Apple on Monday announced CarPlay, its effort to give the iPhone a bigger place inside cars.
Unveiled at an auto show in Geneva, Switzerland, CarPlay lets drivers access their iPhone content and maps from the car’s entertainment system. Ferrari, Mercedes and Volvo are showing off CarPlay implementations at the show, while other makers pledging to include CarPlay in future vehicles include BMW, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover, Kia, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru, Suzuki and Toyota.
Apple first talked about its plans for CarPlay at its developer conference last year, then under the name iOS in the Car.
CarPlay taps Siri to allow drivers to make calls, listen to voice mail and hear incoming alerts and messages. Integration with maps allows turn-by-turn directions to show up on the vehicle’s infotainment system, while on the audio side, CarPlay supports iTunes radio, podcasts and certain third-party apps including Spotify and iHeartRadio. (Apple’s CarPlay website also lists Stitcher and Beats Radio, with more app support said to be in the works.)
“CarPlay has been designed from the ground up to provide drivers with an incredible experience using their iPhone in the car,” Apple VP Greg Joswiak said in a statement. “IPhone users always want their content at their fingertips and CarPlay lets drivers use their iPhone in the car with minimized distraction. We have an amazing lineup of auto partners rolling out CarPlay, and we’re thrilled it will make its debut this week in Geneva.”
Apple said CarPlay will start showing up in vehicles later this year and requires iOS 7 and a Lightning-enabled iPhone (meaning the iPhone 5 and later).
The move is likely to step up an already intense battle to power the entertainment systems on the the next generation of cars. Microsoft, BlackBerry and a host of other companies have highlighted such systems as important to their future, while chipmakers Nvidia and Qualcomm have also called out the connected car as a key growth area.
Google has also recently dipped its toe in this area, announcing in January its plans for the Open Automotive Alliance, an effort to include Android in cars.
Of note, Apple’s approach is to encourage car makers to support use of an iPhone when available for CarPlay. That means that carmakers that want to support CarPlay will still need an infotainment system of their own for use when an iPhone isn’t nearby.