Will automakers really let Apple’s CarPlay take over all the vehicle’s screens?

Apple’s CarPlay has fundamentally changed the way people interact with their vehicles, and the next generation of CarPlay goes even further by deeply integrating with a car’s hardware. Apple promises that CarPlay will be able to provide content for multiple screens within the vehicle, creating an experience that is unified and consistent, but will vehicle makers really cede that much control?

The next generation of CarPlay goes even further by deeply integrating with a car’s hardware, providing content for multiple screens within the vehicle.
The next generation of CarPlay goes even further by deeply integrating with a car’s hardware, providing content for multiple screens within the vehicle.

Deeper integration with the vehicle will allow users to do things like control the radio or change the climate directly through CarPlay, and using the vehicle data, CarPlay will seamlessly render the speed, fuel level, temperature, and more on the instrument cluster. Users will be able to personalize their driving experience by choosing different gauge cluster designs, and with added support for widgets, users will have at-a-glance information from Weather and Music right on their car’s dashboard. More information about the next generation of CarPlay will be shared in the future, and vehicles will start to be announced late next year.

Andrew J. Hawkins for The Verge:

The Verge reached out to 12 major automakers about the updated CarPlay, and most responded with some version of “sounds cool, we’re working on it.” To be sure, Apple itself wasn’t ready to reveal which car companies are on board, promising to announce later this year which vehicles would support this more maximalist version of CarPlay. And a spokesperson for the company didn’t respond to questions about which automakers Apple was targeting.

Was this another case of Apple sending automakers scrambling to develop systems that can accommodate its vision for in-car domination?

This isn’t the first time Apple has promised multiscreen CarPlay interoperability. When it unveiled iOS 13 in September 2019, the company promised a major overhaul of CarPlay to bring… the ability to support various-sized screens and display information on two different screens in the vehicle at the same time. “Automakers can develop CarPlay systems that show information in a second screen, such as in a cluster or HUD [heads up display],” the company said at the time. (Although that sentence no longer appears on Apple’s iOS 13 support page.)

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote of this next-gen CarPlay the day it was announced:

We can’t believe Apple talked (at least some) vehicle makers into including it.

Maybe Apple really hasn’t talked them into it.

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  1. The cartoony font and lickable colors looked amateurish and a little scary on All. Those. Screens on all those cars. I think I threw up a little in my mouth. Car companies need to be able to design or customize those colors and fonts, etc. and then, why use CarPlay on that level? I think this was an attempt to get Apple users to demand this level of CarPlay in their next vehicles. I say no thanks

    1. Wow, Ha8ters Is Gonna Oink, HIGO. Fine, stay with Android Auto or the rubbish car makers make themselves. Also the term beta or developer or preview muuuuuust be foreign to you, but that’s ok, you just keeeeeeeep oinkin’

  2. This feels like a strong signal Apple will be skipping the non-autonomous vehicle market. Learn and scale in the automotive space while their self-driving technology and go-to-market strategy are made ready.

    Having driven a number of newer vehicles it’s clear car manufacturers don’t understand interface design in the digital realm. I’m sure the car companies will be able to lightly skin the UI, to make it work with each brand and model.

    So long as cars don’t drive themselves, there will be car manufacturers that can build better hardware than software (and think of all the brands you’ve never heard of in China and India – dozens and dozens of manufacturers who need this.)

    1. Apple has far too much cachet in their name brand to release a car that is just another Tesla or similar — meaning it’s not a bad EV but there are numerous things to iron out. For Apple it is critical for it to be good. It has to have a differentiator else they, IMHO, hurt their most valuable IP, their brand name, But in the interim as they work to try to release a car (notice it is not they will, they “try”), they’ll perfect certain aspects that can go into things like CarPlay. I think it is a good take that Apple can get this tech out there while they try to make a car.
      For anyone who uses an iPhone, CarPlay in your car is great. If you don’t are buying a new car and you use iPhone, be sure to test drive a car with CarPlay to check it out.

  3. There needs to be consistency across manufacturers of vehicles. We don’t drive the same vehicle all the time. Those of us who drive rental cars expect basic functions to work in consistent way with little to no learning curve. Wherever things go, consistency of basic vehicle functions is key.

  4. Ugh. I’m so not a fan of all-digital dashes, at the least because there’s so much potential for bugs. The more complex a system is, the less reliable it will be. Even Apple can’t make 100% bug-free OS’s, and the more external inputs are allowed, the easier for your car to be hacked. Certainly that’s already been demonstrated with Teslas and even Chryslers from 7-8 years ago.

    Someone mentioned rental cars… I can picture a scenario where a zero-day is hidden in a car’s dash-interface code, which will then drop another exploit onto the phones of the next renters who interface with CarPlay or that other imitator.

  5. I also wonder how reliable so many screens will be for drivers in really hot parts of the country. Not a healthy environment for regular computer screens.

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