Good news from Apple this week for those with Lightning-enabled iPhones (iPhone 5s, 5c and 5) who are planning to buy a new car later this year.
The company says its CarPlay in-vehicle infotainment alternative “gives iPhone users an incredibly intuitive way to make calls, use Maps, listen to music and access messages with just a word or a touch.”
Automakers expected to offer CarPlay include BMW Group, Ferrari, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover, Kia, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi, Nissan, PSA Peugeot Citroën, Subaru, Suzuki, Toyota, and Volvo.
Apple says users can control CarPlay from their car’s native interface, or push-and-hold the voice control button on the steering wheel to activate Siri.® Once the phone is connected, Siri can help a driver access contacts, make calls, return missed calls, listen to voicemails, and record and send messages.
“iPhone users always want their content at their fingertips and CarPlay lets drivers use their iPhone in the car with minimized distraction,” says Greg Joswiak, Apple’s vice president of iPhone and iOS Product Marketing.
Frost & Sullivan analyst Krishna Jayaraman notes that Apple’s new offering competes directly with MirrorLink-type phone integration solution, though it’s focused on iPhones.
Earlier this year Audi, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai and NVIDIA formed the Open Automotive Alliance, a coalition dedicated to bringing the Android platform to cars. Apparently GM, Honda, and Hyundai see no conflict between Apple and Android and will make both interfaces available to their customers. Volvo says its own Volvo Cars content and Apple content will co-exist simultaneously on a Volvo’s portrait screen, thus eliminating the need to switch between a dedicated car screen and an iPhone screen.
I understand the automakers’ thinking: Prospective buyers want to be able to use their smartphones in their cars, so the automakers can either make it easy for owners to do so or drivers will use their phones anyway, potentially putting themselves and their passengers in danger. Most will be careful; some won’t. Dictating text messages requires some attention, but so does driving.