Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Tech Time ::: Carplay

Photos via Apple.com

Apple recently announced that iOS in the Car, now known as CarPlay, would be installed in several auto manufacturers upcoming models.  

I am not personally someone that needs all the connectivity and craziness in my car, but I can see the allure of having access to maps and web searches to make calls through your car's built-in iOS system. Apple announced that demos from Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo would be available at the Geneva Auto Show (surely available in YouTube videos for your viewing interest), and that it would be partnering with, among others, BMW, Ford, GM, and Hyundai. As stated in their official release statement, "CarPlay will be available in select cars shipping in 2014."   The official listing of vehicles is shown below, straight from Apple's site, and it's extensive.

I know there's a lot of drama and a huge pissing match between iOS lovers and "everyone else" about how Apple has lost it's grip on the Smartphone Market, but if this list of manufacturers is any indication, that's clearly not the case, because that's a significant amount of marques that are on board with this product. 

Besides pairing with your iPhone to access the Maps app, it will also work with SIRI to help you search while you drive, for a contact to call, text someone, or get directions. Also from the official release statement: "CarPlay gives drivers access to all of their music, podcasts, audiobooks and iTunes Radio℠ with easy navigation through listening choices from the car’s built-in controls or simply by asking Siri to pull up what you’d like to hear. CarPlay also supports select third-party audio apps including Spotify and iHeartRadio, so you can listen to your favorite radio services or sports broadcast apps while driving."

Here's a video from Engadget's Hands On, worth the 8 minute watch:

So essentially your phone officially pairs with an iOS system built into your car once you plug your phone onto your charging cable that is run through your car's power.  You push the phone app and SIRI comes on to ask you who want to call, giving you an option to give her a number or a name from your Contacts.  I also like that there's a state of the signal you might have, say 5 bars and LTE, available on the left there in Ferrari's system.  Sounds fairly useful.

What concerns me about these systems, CarPlay and the like, are what they'll do to drivers in terms of new distractions, especially with all the touchscreen playing that might happen.  I know that Apple claims to be allowing a system to be operated via a button on the steering wheel to minimize issues, but how many incidents will we be hearing about related to someone tinkering with their in-dash touchscreen devices while thinking they're avoiding issues by not playing with their phones?

When I first heard about it, I'll admit I rolled my eyes and said "no thanks" and I admit that most of that is just that I really don't need any added distractions with my phone in the car. But the more I read about it, and the more I see with hands on, the more interesting it is to me. Are you intrigued by this CarPlay product?  

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