What is CarPlay?
June 10, 2013 Apple announced an effort to renovate the way we use smartphones within our cars.iPhone owners know connecting the phone to a car via Bluetooth can be tricky and often limits your available functionality. Also, due to the lack of sophistication of current voice command software, it can be extremely frustrating even attempting to make a phone call.
CarPlay is intended to be a nearly seamless way to integrate the technology you already love and understand into your vehicle’s infotainment center.
Apple describes CarPlay as a “smarter, safer way to use your iPhone in the car. CarPlay takes the things you want to do with your iPhone while driving and puts them right on your car’s built-in display. You can get directions, make calls, send and receive messages, and listen to music, all in a way that allows you to stay focused on the road.”
When Apple writes that CarPlay will allow you to stay focused on the road, they mean you will be able to use your voice instead of your eyes. CarPlay will use the functionality of Siri, and as many of us know Siri is a much better alternative to the typical clunky voice recognition software found on newer vehicles.
With CarPlay, Siri will even read and send new iMessages. Siri will never show the text of your iMessages on the infotainment screen. Siri will help keep your eyes on the road, rather than the screen, in effort to maintain the highest level of safety.
Where Can I Find CarPlay?
The list of vehicle manufacturers currently offering CarPlay, as of April 2015, is very short. Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz, and Volvo were the first automobile manufacturers to incorporate CarPlay. In recent news, Porsche has unveiled their plans to include CarPlay functionality into future vehicles. The car brands previously mentioned all carry hefty price-tags. If luxury vehicles are not within your budget, CarPlay can also be found on the 2015 Hyundai Sonata shown below.
Honda has also committed to using CarPlay, but has not released any sort of CarPlay interface into their vehicles. Interestingly enough, a 2015 Honda Civic is displaying the CarPlay interface in all of Apple’s marketing images.
I spoke with a customer service representative from Honda and she stated that CarPlay would be introduced into their vehicles “eventually.” After pressing for more detailed information the customer service representative admitted she had no information on any possible release time frame or even how the CarPlay system would be installed onto Honda vehicles.
If you’re not planning on purchasing a brand new vehicle in 2015, and wish to use CarPlay with your current vehicle, you have another option. Two audio system manufacturers, Alpine and Pioneer, also make use of CarPlay functionality. Alpine and Pioneer have already included the CarPlay interface in their top of the line after-market head units. Below is a video produced by Pioneer showing how CarPlay is integrated into their NEX infotainment systems, simply by plugging your iPhone into the USB port.
CarPlay isn’t catching on as quickly as many of us had hoped. CarPlay has been adopted by every major vehicle manufacturer but has only been officially released on a few. It is likely that the end of 2015 and beginning of 2016 is when we will see a majority of new vehicles including the CarPlay interface. When Honda releases CarPlay for its 2015 Civic line-up, expect an installation tutorial right here on iDrop.