PC Magazine reviews Apple’s CarPlay: ‘Excellent’

“It’s no secret that automakers have struggled with infotainment interfaces. Because of this, tech-savvy vehicle owners and industry pundits have called on car companies to provide a ‘dumb’ screen in the dash that can connect to a mobile device that already has all of a driver’s apps, contacts, and music—and usually provides better (not to mention less expensive) navigation,” Doug Newcomb writes for PC Magazine. “That hasn’t stopped companies from further developing infotainment interfaces of their own, but the truth is that Apple’s CarPlay outdoes most of the proprietary systems out there.”

“CarPlay essentially uses your iPhone as your infotainment command center, letting you make calls, listen to music, and get turn-by-turn GPS directions, most of which can be activated by your voice,” Newcomb writes. “If you own an iPhone and an CarPlay-compatible vehicle, you won’t be disappointed.”

CarPlay “performs significantly better with messaging, music, phone calls, and navigation than many similar built-in systems on the market,” Newcomb writes. Siri integration makes it safe and simple to control most essential features without looking away from the road or lifting a finger. And when you do need to glance down, Apple’s menus are intuitive and easy to navigate. So if you already own an iPhone and a CarPlay-compatible vehicle, it’s a win-win situation.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Google’s Android Auto “wins by a hair,” says PC Magazine and it their Editors’ Choice mainly due to a preference for Google Maps vs. Apple Maps – quickly becoming a moot point, if not there already – and Android having “more apps” – with no mention of the quality of the apps themselves, just the quantity of app possibilities. iOS versions of apps are usually better, often far better, than Android, since they were developed for iOS first. Android typically gets the watered-down ports later, if at all.


  1. I’d give the GMC implementation of Apple CarPlay a “pretty good”. It’s buggy, and doesn’t always play well with other devices. It’s a shame that it can’t live next to the native apps a little better, ie., you have to exit it to get to the radio or OnStar functions (weather, traffic reports, etc.), and you can’t see the clock when it’s active, but I guess that’s how it has to work.

  2. Vacationing in Italy and had an interesting comparison between Apple maps , Navigon , and Google maps on a rental vehicle using an iPhone . The first two could not get me to my destination which was rural and down a dirt road but Google maps did .
    The other disappointment with Car Play is that the HUD in my current vehicle will not work with Car Play which pretty well eliminates it for any situation where nevigation is important .

  3. I’ve got CarPlay in my 2016 VW and it’s a real “meh” for me. I often don’t even plug the phone in, which is what triggers the infotainment system to cede control to CarPlay. Maps is useful, but with SiriusXM I don’t need Pandora or Spotify. Phone calls are easy, but nothing better than with the Bluetooth through the car’s system.

    Until it gets some more useful apps the handful there are now really don’t impact my experience much over the standard use with Bluetooth for calls.

  4. I would love to have this on my next Prius. The Nav system on my 2015 model doesn’t even reach ‘Fair’. The lease flips for a 2018, so I checked. Toyota has nothing about CarPlay…anywhere. It would appear that Apple has Toyota on ‘their’ website,
    But Toyota isn’t acknowledging it…yet.

    1. I have a 2016 RAV4 hybrid and it supports CarPlay as of October with an update. (You have to go to the dealership) but I think Toyota will implement it product line wide this next model year. The problem is that the entune system that they have built in used incompatible hardware with CarPlay, but the later 2016 + models don’t.

  5. I have a 2016 VW and the built in voice recognition is far more accurate than Siri via CarPlay. Apple needs to work on improving voice recognition.

    On the plus side, Apple Maps are getting better and better although the routing is still less than stellar. I turn on the nav while driving places where I know the best routes and Apple’s Nav guidance is still way short of where it should be.

    Finally, we need more third party CarPlay Apps. What I would like to see is a plug in for Apple Maps that displays an overlay of live weather radar so during bad weather we know what is coming up and how soon.

    Some of us have to drive regardless of weather. When I am on call for my hospital I have to go out regardless of the weather. A Radar overlay for Navigation would be great.

  6. I have a Toyota GTS 86. I replaced the factory fitted head unit with a Pioneer AVIC F70 DAB, mainly for carplay. I’m very happy with it. Most short drives I don’t plug in my iPhone, however I can still access SIRI by pressing the home button on the head unit, waiting a few seconds for the SIRI beep and then dictating my request, usually a phone call or to send/read texts. Apple Maps here in Australia is excellent. That combined with my apple watch for direction, small vibrations and tones from my watch for turns, is great.

  7. Google Maps’ new interface is absolutely awful, and so is their Waze. They’ve dumbed down both UIs to the point they are utterly unusable. While Apple’s Maps are better UI, they are SORELY LACKING in data, so searches for anything but the most obvious establishments/chains is fruitless. Apple REALLY needs to open up their maps to the crowd so they can actually get their data up to speed instead of relying on crappy 3rd parties.

    Google’s UI blows, but they NAILED the information model by allowing user-changes to maps; in fact, in some countries their maps are ENTIRELY user generated, including the roads themselves. Apple Maps MIGHT be catching up, but until they adopt the Wikipedia-self-edit model, they will never be a serious contender in maps for anything but the simple tasks.

    but i admit they are trying (apple that is), and they can’t possibly screw up the UI any worse than Google has down with Waze and Gmaps.

  8. I have CarPlay in my Mercedes GLE and it’s a mixed bag. For iPhone and iPhone related apps it beats everything out there with one exception: playing CDs, Of course it’s easy to copy them into iTunes,. but that’s another step.

    Where CarPlay falls flat on its face is maps & GPS. Here in the Tri-State area (New York, New Jersey, & Connecticut) at least 40% of the time CarPlay shows a cursor moving across graph paper. The aesthetic quality of Apple’s maps even when displayed are inferior to Mercedes built-in GPS and iPhone app Co-Pilot.

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