Apple launches CarPlay infotainment tech

Using your phone while driving is, at best, clunky and at worst (and more often than not), dangerous. But perpetual phone releaser, Apple, plans to change all that with its latest invention.
Apple CarPlay
Ahead of the Geneva Motor Show opening on March 6, Apple has pulled back the curtain on CarPlay, its own take on in-car infotainment (worst portmanteau word ever?). From polish to price tag, it all looks suitably Apple, but it does also look pretty impressive. Here’s a look at what CarPlay can do, and why Apple is calling it, with characteristic understatement: “The best iPhone experience on four wheels.”

Keeping your ‘i' on the road

CarPlay, Apple says, takes the things you want to do with your iPhone while driving and puts them right on your car’s built-in display. This means you can get directions, make calls, send text messages and listen to music without taking your eyes off the road for a second. How do I access this entertaining vehicular utopia? I hear you ask. Well, unless you’ve got mates in Apple’s home town of Cupertino to hook you and your Ford Fiesta up, you’re going to need a new car, as CarPlay is only coming to “select new cars in 2014”, But more on that in a moment. First, let’s have a look at how it works…

Getting Siri-ous

The touchscreen CarPlay device sits in the dashboard, and on it you’ll find familiar iOS icons for functions such as phone, messages, maps and music. The clever part is that CarPlay uses the Siri voice-control feature on the iPhone, which means you can make and answer phone calls using voice commands, dictate outgoing text messages, and have incoming messages read aloud by Siri. You can also navigate your iTunes library and play tracks using voice commands, leaving your hands free throughout all this so that you can retain full control of the car. For example, you’ll just have to say: “Play The Cure, Just Like Heaven” (your tastes may vary) and CarPlay will find the track in your library and start playing it. A bit like Knight Rider. And speaking of music, CarPlay will also be compatible with third-party apps such as Spotify, Beats Radio and Stitcher. Greg Joswiak, Apple’s vice president of iPhone and iOS Product Marketing, said: “iPhone users always want their content at their fingertips and CarPlay lets drivers use their iPhone in the car with minimised distraction.”

CarPay

The rather sizeable catches are that, for the time being, CarPlay is only coming to new Ferrari, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz and Volva models in 2014 – and you’re going to pay the Apple premium for it. You’ll also need either an iPhone 5, 5s or 5c running iOS7. In the future, Apple plans to get the tech into new cars from BMW and Mini, Ford, Kia, Nissan, Peugeot and Citroen, to name but a few.

Geneva whizz

We’ll have an update tomorrow on the first day of the Geneva Motor Show.

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