Apple CarPlay: What You Need To Know

Motor shows around the world enable car manufacturers to debut the latest models and concepts to the motoring press, and it’s also a great way for technology firms to showcase their latest automotive innovations to everyone.

At this year’s Geneva International Motor Show, for instance, computing firm Apple showed off a new piece of technology that enables iPhone users to better integrate their smartphones with their cars. Dubbed CarPlay, the Cupertino firm state that it’s the “smarter, safer and more fun way” to use your iPhone in the car.

Apple Carplay

At the moment, motorists wanting to use their Apple iPhones in their cars would have to buy some extra accessories such as handsfree Bluetooth devices, or Bluetooth-enabled head units (car stereos) to talk to people on the phone or play their favourite music from their iTunes library or through a streaming service such as Spotify.

But one thing that has never really been in existence is a built-in solution that comes direct from the factory until now. Apple have so far teamed up with Ferrari as well as Mercedes-Benz and Volvo to use the CarPlay technology in their new vehicles.

At a later stage, Apple hopes that other car manufacturers such as BMW, Ford, General Motors (i.e. Holden, Opel and Vauxhall), Honda, Subaru, Toyota and scores of other popular carmakers will also be on board to use CarPlay in their next-generation models.

How does CarPlay work?

There are many clever ways that your iPhone can interact with a CarPlay-enabled vehicle.

  • Phone calls – Siri, as you probably know, has been utilised with the iPhone ever since the iPhone 4S. CarPlay uses Siri’s voice-command system to help you access your contacts, make and receive phone calls hands-free, and even listen to voicemails;

  • Messaging – CarPlay will also read out your text messages to you, and enable you to dictate replies all without taking your hands off the wheel or eyes off the road;

  • Maps – one of the great things about the iPhone is that it can be used as a satellite navigation device. Not only does CarPlay offer you spoken turn-by-turn directions, but it can intelligently anticipate directions for you based on road conditions and even provide you with an estimated time of arrival;

  • Music – thanks to the tighter integration between your car and your iPhone, CarPlay lets you listen to your music, podcasts, and audiobooks as well as iTunes Radio using your car’s audio controls. And if, like me, you’re a Spotify user, you can even use this too without having to resort to third-party accessories. Simply tell Siri what you want to listen to, and CarPlay takes care of everything else!

Who can use CarPlay?

CarPlay is expected to be available in some car models available at your local car supermarket at some point in 2014, and will work with iPhones that are Lightning-enabled, such as the iPhone 5, 5C and 5S.

Apple will be releasing an update to iOS 7 in the near future to enable CarPlay integration for those devices.

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