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While the mythic Apple Car may still be a few years away, that’s not stopping Apple from partnering with other high-end car manufacturers to get as much Apple technology packed in as possible.
While almost every current model car now supports CarPlay in some fashion, Apple hasn’t stopped there. This past summer it debuted Car Key, a new way to unlock your iPhone with your car that’s already available on most of this year’s BMW models and will soon expand to other car makers, and in what is perhaps an even more exclusive and ambitious move, it’s been working with Porsche to build in direct access to Apple’s streaming services.
This began last year with the news that Apple Music would be coming to Porsche’s new all-electric Taycan sports car, in a step beyond simple CarPlay integration — which of course the Taycan would also include.
Instead, what the Porsche Taycan had built into its infotainment system was direct, native support for streaming Apple Music over its own wireless cellular connection. In other words, drivers would be able to stream anything from Apple Music, including radio stations, curated playlists, and their own library of content, even without an iPhone or other Apple device anywhere near the car.
On the Taycan, Apple Music is accessed through the in-car touchscreen display or even via standard voice commands, although of course the car doesn’t integrate native Siri support, but rather uses Porsche’s own voice assistant. The owner’s Porsche Taycan ID can be associated with their Apple ID on the back-end, allowing single sign-on to Apple Music.
While Porsche has noted that the Taycan is just the first step in its plans to tightly integrate Apple Music into more of its vehicles, it’s also still clearly using the luxury electric car as the launching point for even deeper Apple integration.
Apple Music Lyrics and Podcasts
The company announced this week that the Taycan will be expanding its Apple Music feature with support for Apple Music’s time-synced lyrics and Apple’s Podcasts.
Support for live lyrics on Apple Music came to the iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV last year with the release of iOS 13 and related updates, and now on the newest Taycan models, passengers will be able to call up the lyrics for whatever song is playing, with the text shown on the passenger-side display to avoid distracting the actual driver.
In fact, it’s worth noting that this means the Taycan gets a feature that’s actually not even possible via standard CarPlay; while the value of basic support for Apple Music was perhaps debatable in a vehicle that already includes CarPlay support, the ability to display live lyrics is something entirely unique.
Perhaps more significantly than that, however, is the addition of native support for Apple Podcasts, providing direct access to Apple’s entire catalog of podcast programming — over 1.5 million shows — right from the touchscreen display of the Porsche Advanced Cockpit. Like Apple Music, this will be a full integration that will sync with the user’s Apple Podcasts library, meaning that all of their collections and playlists will be available and everything will stay in sync via the cloud.
The new Apple Music and Apple Podcast offerings expand the emotional driving experience with the Taycan with a seamlessly integrated digital feature for music lovers. There is more to come.Detlev von Platen, Porsche Sales & Marketing Executive
As with the announcement of Apple Music integration last year, it’s clear that Porsche plans to continue growing its relationship with Apple and its technology. Porsche North America CEO Klaus Zellmer has described the two companies as having a close relationship due to their shared ideologies on design, technology, and innovation — and also on closed systems.
For example, it’s noteworthy that while Porsche has eagerly embraced CarPlay from the beginning, it remains one fo the few automakers that eschews Android Auto entirely, so if you’re going to buy a Porsche, you’d better be an iPhone user — although it seems that over 80 percent of U.S. Porsche customers are.
The new Apple Music lyrics and Apple Podcasts integration features are available in all new Taycan vehicles now, and will be rolling out to existing cars via a software update in January. New and existing owners can get up to six months of Apple Music for free, while new customers can also take advantage of three years of free streaming data for both the Apple Music and Apple Podcasts services.