Cars have had dashboard-mounted screens for quite a while now, showing you maps and fuel consumption and the like. In fact, these screens have become so prevalent that even Apple has stopped sleeping at the wheel and put out its own dashbaord display, which the tech giant hopes will seamlessly integrate your car with your iPhone. CarPlay, states Apple, is the "best iPhone experience on four wheels."
Featuring Siri and all the car-friendly apps you've likely come to expect while behind the wheel of your car, it's hard to say that CarPlay isn't a great idea. It just isn't that original. Dictating text messages to Siri and navigating exclusively on Apple Maps could both feel like a downgrade for Android users, not to mention the need to buy an iPhone 5 or later. The only real step up we can see is how fully integrated CarPlay will be with your next car.
Once you've connected your iPhone, you can choose how you interact with your car's screen. Voice control buttons on your steering wheel let you keep your eyes on the road as you dictate a text or call a friend, the touchscreen allows full control of your apps, and even your car's traditional knobs and buttons work seamlessly with your iOS interface. Apple's also got quite the list of partnerships lined up for CarPlay.
Volvo, Mercedes-Benz, Honda, Ferrari, Hyundai and Jaguar will all release cars with CarPlay this year, with a dozen other car makers onboard to integrate the system in the future. Volvo has even put out a video show how you might use CarPlay in its vehicles. While this may sound like a vote in Apple's favor, Volvo may actually be hedging its bets, announcing its own next-gen user interface that looks every bit as swanky as Apple's only last week. With self-driving cars on the horizon, Apple will have to fight very hard to carve itself a sizeable piece of the in-car experience pie.