Forbes reviews Apple’s CarPlay: Hugely impressive

“Announced earlier this year, CarPlay allows you to connect your iPhone to a compatible touchscreen-enabled head unit. That’s not unusual, but once the two are paired, all kinds of magic ensues,” Antony Leather writes for Forbes. “Firstly, the head unit will display its own version of iOS, which has been designed by Apple itself, complete with icons and even Siri support. The key thing here is that the iPhone is in control. So the head unit is simply there to provide a larger touch interface as well as charging your iPhone at the same time via an included USB cable.”

“This means that there’s no need to have to update your head unit to get the latest CarPlay-compatible apps. Just install them on your iPhone and they’ll automatically appear on your head unit the next time you connect the two,” Leather writes. “I visited audio manufacturer Pioneer’s head office in the UK, who is the first manufacturer to offer third party CarPlay-compatible had units to take a closer look.”

Leather writes, “I’m hugely impressed by CarPlay, even in its current form with a limited selection of apps.”

Much more, including tons of screenshots, in the full review here.

Related articles:
72 hours with Apple’s CarPlay – November 5, 2014
Alpine Electronics in-dash receiver with Apple CarPlay now shipping – October 27, 2014
Pioneer releases Apple CarPlay for vehicle systems in US and Europe – October 2, 2014
First vehicle with Apple’s CarPlay hits the road in Ferrari FF – September 8, 2014
More articles about Apple’s CarPlay here.


    1. Yeah that’s what I just did, actually REMOVING the Harman Kardon nav unit (unfortunately tied into the Eyesight package) and putting in a Pioneer immediately. Love it but I wish everything would work through local WiFi or Bluetooth instead of having to plug my phone in – that seems too old school.

      1. The reason for plugging in is two-fold:

        1. Your iPhone won’t run out of power, especially when using GPS-enabled apps, like Maps or streaming music;

        2. A more secure, stable connection. Bluetooth and WiFi can both come and go, and a plug-in connection ensures a constant connection. Plus, it is a signal to the head unit to switch to CarPlay mode.

  1. I am looking to replace my 2012 Acura MDX. Not a single luxury SUVS has CarPlay. Not Acura, Mercedes, Infinity, Range Rover, Porsche, BMW, Cadillac. So how big a deal is it if for example Mercedes only has it on its lowly C class. Installing a Pioneer into any of those cars would be a nightmare. We are years away from many cars including CarPlay unfortunately.

    1. That’s because auto makers are adding CarPlay as they upgrade models. It is hugely expensive to design electrical harnesses and dashboards for vehicles, so you’re not going to see an auto maker re-design a current model’s Infotainment system without making some serious changes to the overall vehicle. CarPlay will be added to these auto makers’ models as they redesign the vehicle, with new dashboards.

  2. The *ONLY* interest to me about CarPlay is the original claim of being “Hands Free and Eyes Free”.

    The referenced article talks about actions that are NEITHER “Hands Free” NOR “Eyes Free”. If a system is really “Hands Free and Eyes Free”, then the head unit and screen are virtually irrelevant. Discussions about screen icons and menu layouts should be in the class of “Oh, bye the way, your passenger could use the screen and menus to do XYZ.” Such discussions should not be the focus of the review.

    I am excited to see if Apple can really pull off a “Hands Free and Eyes Free” system. If Apple can do it, I’d make having CarPlay one of the deciding factors in my next car purchase — if not THE deciding factor!

    However, I have not read one single article yet that shows CarPlay as living up to the “Hands Free and Eyes Free” marketing.

      1. I understand that completely. However, base upon each and every article I’ve read, Siri’s capabilities are still somewhat limited. You still *must* look at and use the touchscreen for several actions/inputs into the system.

  3. One important note about the Forbes article: CarPlay actually doesn’t require a touch screen. Each auto maker can elect whatever interface it wants, from Volvo using an entirely touch screen interface to Mercedes using a combination of buttons and touch, to BMW using no touch and its iDrive controller instead. The reasons for this are many, but usually have to do with the placement of the screen: for example, BMW’s screens are currently on top of the dash, a very long reach for a driver or passenger to use. Therefore, CarPlay works via Siri or BMW’s iDrive controller (after all, people who for some reason don’t own iPhones still need a way to access the controls of their car).

    1. You just describe three separate inputs that require your hands. This is absolutely opposite to what I’d call “Hands Free”. And, as you need to look at where you’re touching, it is not “Eyes Free” either.

      I do believe if *anyone* can fulfill the true “Hands Free and Eyes Free” marketing statement, it is Apple. But, as I said above, no article has yet described an implementation that lives up to this. Your statements don’t either.

  4. I wonder if they will have car to car interaction, like “CarShare”. You know, like being stopped at a stop sign and wondering what song is blasting from the car beside you. “CaShare” could also offer the option to play soothing music to calm drivers during times of stress, like traffic jams.

    This might usher in the drive-to, you know instead of driving to and through your favorite fast food spot, you just use Siri’s voice activation to order your favorite food and it’s delivered right to your car, right on the highway, so you don’t even have to stop your car to get food. Automobiles with sun roofs could benefit from drone drops and hey with drive-to, you’ll never have to stop at a gas station again.

    Get the name and address of that really cute person you just passed, send a nasty message to that person that cut you off or to find out where someone got that great custom paint job, use “CarShare” to see if you have any friends in the area that want to get together for lunch. So many uses.

    An idea like “CarShare” would be especially useful if it could detect other Apple’s CarPlay users in your proximity, it might even help promote safe driving and prevent accidents. It would be even more useful if it could detect android users in your area.

    You might get a message like: “Stationary android vehicle up ahead, possible speed trap.”

    1. Would like to hear more of your demo there. How well did the touch screen functions work? My current setup blows – the Pioneer interface/touch screen just flat out sucks. The actual performance is good, the controls blow.
      AVIC-X940BT unit with iPhone 5s and Son’s Samsung Note4 over Bluetooth and also wired.

      1. It pretty much worked as advertised. Plugged in lighting cable and the Icons came up on stereo screen, home button in lower left. Press and hold for siri. Music was slick…playlists works. Maps worked although it showed a different view than on my phone. Not able to pinch/zoom. The phone screen is still on and I was able to launch audible and downcast which I use for audiobooks and podcasts respectively.

  5. Well, I just hope it all works better than my Pioneer $1k+ head units with “App Radio” etc. That has been a huge disappointment for me. Not sure I’d ever get another Pioneer after that – and they make the OEM Scion units which actually work really well.
    Have to go demo this new thing and see if it’s worth another shot and another chunk of change to get something good.

  6. I think this is Apple’s future if they play this right: Pocket computing with head systems everywhere.

    I.E. everyone carries a smart device (iPhone) that contains all of their most important/personal information. Apple continues to improve their secure enclave and non-password technology (touch id, retina scan, dna analyzer?) until your smart device is only usable by you or those you specifically allow. Then when you get in the car, or go to work, or log on at home and all of those places are just head systems, personal info, files, and processing power are in your pocket (with a small screen in case you find yourself without a head system). And if you need additional processing power or stored media those items are in Apple’s secure cloud that requires the iPhone and the associated live person to access.

    Apple rebelled against the un-personal big data computing mainframe to make the computer personal. Now they will continue to make the computer more personal, but leverage cloud infrastructure (big data) for the portion of our computing that is not so personal, especially media that can be served to many users individually (and managed individually), so that each individual doesn’t need their own personal local copy. An abstraction layer will give each person their own personal cloud copy.

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