Why my next car probably won’t have CarPlay (Spoiler: Apple Watch)

“My next new car probably won’t have CarPlay. I’ve reached this decision in part due to automakers’ slow crawl to put CarPlay in vehicles that you can actually buy today,” Zac Hall writes for 9to5Mac. “While 2015 may bring the feature to more vehicles on the road with more than 30 automobile brands committed to ship CarPlay this year, we’re still not there yet and the roll out is slow.”

“More influential, though, is my experience using aftermarket CarPlay in my current car for several months convincing me that CarPlay’s features are not yet where they need to be,” Hall writes. “As I noted in my hands-on review last fall, CarPlay introduces a new set of problems while trying to make using your iPhone in the car safer and easier.”

“So if CarPlay isn’t ultimately the answer to creating a better iPhone experience on the road, then what is?” Hall writes. “I’m convinced the Apple Watch will be better suited.”

Read more in the full article here.

13 Comments

  1. I would like CarPlay to work without having to actually plug my phone in every time. Bluetooth works for phone use but none of the other functions. Why can’t this communication be over local WiFi? Cables, cables CABLES!

      1. How about that, people were actually right when they kept saying Apple should increase the battery life on their phones so they can use its more power-hungry features longer between charges.

      2. I disagree. The system could be designed to upload relevant info like with Maps and then shutdown until needed again with the car unit then doing the heavy lifting. There’s always a way. Having to plug in a phone every time is an antiquated idea. Technology always has a solution. Better yet build a cellular connection & apps in CarPlay itself so no phone required. All the while updating your phone wirelessly if need be. Just my 2 cents.

        1. You are plugging the phone in to prevent you from using it while driving. Furthermore, there is no ‘upload data to the car’ – the car portion is a dumb, slave screen – the iPhone drives it as a second display, and does all the work.

          1. You wouldn’t have to “use it” would you? – as the functions would work through CarPlay. I don’t think you read my post. I understand as CarPlay is currently designed it’s simply a smart phone to car portal interface. I was saying it should be redesigned so it does more and easier. I also understand the power issues but that should be a user option. Of course all this would be moot with basic cellular phone capability built in.

            For me now currently I have to unplug an older iPod to plug my iPhone 6Plus in and then don’t have CarPlay control of my iPod. It has Dual USB but I don’t know yet if I can plug both an iPhone & iPod in at the same time. This would alleviate some of my issues. Right now there is just one USB input inside the center console and that’s where my iPod sits. Maybe a cheap second iPhone used solely in the car and for music playback might be the answer.

            But the problem has not been “cracked” (ease of use) yet. CarPlay, like Apple TV. still a “hobby.”

    1. It’s all about forcing the phone to be hands-free. Also, battery life and other reasons. Most cars now hide the phone anyhow… so cables isn’t an issue. You’re not exactly walking around a car, anyhow.

  2. Hall is a bit of an idiot with this column. First, he fails to understand that automakers are introducing CarPlay into new models in 2015, but that new models don’t come out until late summer/early fall as 2016 model year vehicles.

    He also fails to understand just how difficult it is for automakers to make changes to vehicular electrical systems, particularly wiring harnesses, to cater to the whims of the consumer electronics industry.

    A car may only have its electrical harness updated significantly every 6-12 years, depending on the degree of change a vehicle is undergoing for a “new” model. Many times the chassis, harness, engine, and other major components are carried over with minor changes and the bodywork and interior is what receives the bulk of the upgrades. Redesigning a dashboard and electrical harness is an expensive proposition for an auto manufacturer because it typically also involves retooling the plant(s), which are multi-million dollar bills.

    CarPlay will be here eventually, and an Watch can’t substitute for connecting your music to your car’s sound system. It may be significantly better for notifications than CarPlay, but that is a different matter from CarPlay’s intent anyway.

  3. In general it takes car manufacturers several years to get new car infotainment systems working properly, and the first years are disasters at best. It is best to wait until a car company has had plenty of time to adjust, get their software working, settle in on their hardware etc. (one big problem is that car companies habitually underspec the processor/memory combination needed, and there’s ultimately no fix for that other than to dumb down the software)

    If you are going to buy the first year of a new system, just accept that the system will be worthless and you will be spending a lot of time at dealers complaining, before maybe you will get a system that reliably does half of what you want it to.

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