Automakers haven’t figured out if they’ll let Apple CarPlay support all screens
Apple can’t manage to build its own car, so it will just have to take control of everyone else.
At its annual WWDC event on Monday, the tech giant announced that the next generation of CarPlay will soon break free from the ties that confine it to the main infotainment screen and expand to additional screens in the vehicle. CarPlay will also, for the first time, use vehicle data to display crucial driving information such as speed, fuel level and engine temperature measurements, as well as allowing users to control settings including the radio or air conditioning.
Will your car be ready for this more extensive version of CarPlay? Because automakers certainly aren’t.
The edge contacted 12 major automakers about updating CarPlay, and most responded with some version of “sounds cool, we’re working on it.” Granted, Apple itself wasn’t ready to reveal which automakers are on board, promising to announce later this year which vehicles will support this more maximalist version of CarPlay. And a company spokesperson did not respond to questions about which automakers Apple is targeting.
Was this another case of Apple sending automakers scrambling to develop systems that can fit its vision of car dominance? Here’s what automakers told us:
BMW“Currently, we have a clear focus on improving our iDrive user interface system, and as part of this development, we will continue to seamlessly integrate Apple’s ecosystem. An assessment of how the latest innovations announced at WWDC can be integrated into our solutions will be an integral part of these efforts. »
VOLVO“At this time, we have nothing to share beyond the fact that we plan to support this next generation of Apple CarPlay in future vehicles.”
Toyota: “We cannot comment or speculate on a future product at this time.”
Ford: “Thank you for contacting the Next Generation Apple CarPlay Story. We have no additional information to share at this time.”
The North Star“Apple CarPlay will be coming to Polestar 2 as part of an OTA update later this month. We’re also excited to announce that the next generation of CarPlay will be coming to Polestar cars in the future.
Stellantide“This is more of an Apple OS for automotive applications than a CarPlay upgrade. We have made no announcements regarding this system.
Spokespersons for Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen, General Motors, Hyundai, Nissan and Honda did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
A possible key to this plan is that a number of automakers have already struck software deals with other tech companies. Ford is working with Google to design UX software for “millions” of future vehicles, while Stellantis is doing the same with Amazon. Volvo and Polestar simply handed over the UX to Google’s Android Automotive, which runs natively in some cars. Apple has yet to reach similar agreements with automakers.
This isn’t the first time Apple has promised multi-screen CarPlay interoperability. When it unveiled iOS 13 in September 2019, the company promised a major overhaul of CarPlay to bring it more in line with Google’s Android Auto.
This included the ability to support screens of different sizes and display information on two different screens in the vehicle at the same time. “Automakers can develop CarPlay systems that display information on a second screen, such as in a cluster or HUD [heads up display]”, the company said at the time. (Although that phrase no longer appears on Apple’s iOS 13 support page.)
At the time, automakers said they were still looking to allow Apple to overlay the CarPlay display on those secondary screens. After this week’s announcements, it looks like they’re still working on it.