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Posts tagged with "CarPlay"

Porsche to Include Apple Music App in Its Electric Taycan Electric Sports Car

Yesterday, Porsche announced that it’s partnering with Apple to integrate Apple Music directly with the in-car entertainment system of the Taycan, which is debuting in September.

The streaming service will be available in Porsche’s fully-electric Taycan first and later, in other models. According to TechCrunch’s Kirsten Korosec who spoke to Porsche’s North American CEO Claus Zellmer:

The integration means more than an Apple Music app icon popping up on the Taycan’s digital touchscreen. The company wanted the experience to be seamless, meaning no wonky sign-ins, phone pairing or separate accounts. Instead, Porsche is linking an owner’s Apple ID with their Porsche Taycan ID. Apple Music content in the Taycan will be identical to what’s on the user’s iPhone app.

System-level integration with Apple Music will allow Taycan owners to enjoy the service regardless of whether they have an iPhone with them because the Taycan comes with in-car Internet service. The car company announced that it will offer a six-month free trial of Apple Music with the Taycan and incorporate CarPlay support into its in-car entertainment system too.

Direct integration of Apple Music with Porsche’s in-car system, plus six months of free service sounds an awful lot like what satellite radio company SiriusXM offers with many new cars. The move has the advantage of ensuring that Apple’s service will always be available onscreen where it can compete directly with other services. Of course, the downside is that because Apple doesn’t control the hardware its app runs on, it will undoubtedly be subject to the whims of Porsche if it wants to update it, which is part of why CarPlay exists in the first place. Fortunately, regardless of how Porsche handles updates, CarPlay will be available to Taycan owners too. It will be interesting to see whether Apple Music and perhaps other Apple apps make their way into additional manufacturers’ automobiles in the future or if this is a one-off deal.


CarPlay in iOS 13: A Big Leap Forward

CarPlay fascinates me because it’s a relatively rare example of a successful Apple software product that isn’t tightly integrated with the company’s hardware. Of course, CarPlay runs from an iPhone, but it also relies on automaker media systems to deliver its experience to users in their cars. This lack of integration shows in cars with slower media systems; however, even when automakers’ hardware provides a subpar experience, CarPlay’s simplified but familiar interface and access to content already on users’ iPhones is superior. So much so in fact that Apple says CarPlay has managed to capture 90% of the new car market in the US and 75% worldwide.

I first tried CarPlay three years ago, when I leased a Honda Accord. As I wrote then, Honda’s entertainment system was slow, but the experience was nonetheless transformative. Easy access to the music and podcasts I love, multiple mapping options, and access to hands-free messaging all played a big part in winning me over.

When my lease was up earlier this year, CarPlay support was at the top of the list of must-have features when we began looking for a new car. We wound up leasing a Nissan Altima, which has a faster entertainment system, larger touchscreen, and better hardware button support for navigating CarPlay’s UI. The hardware differences took a system I already loved to a new level by reducing past friction and frustrations even though the underlying software hadn’t changed.

Just a few weeks after we brought the Altima home though, Apple announced that it would update CarPlay with the release of iOS 13 this fall. In a jam-packed keynote, CarPlay got very little stage time, but I was immediately intrigued by the scope of the announcement. CarPlay hasn’t changed much since it was introduced in 2014, but with iOS 13, iPhone users can look forward to not only significant improvements in its design, but a new app and other features that make this the biggest leap forward for CarPlay to date.

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CarPlay Dashboard to Enable Displaying Multiple Apps in the Fall

According to Apple, CarPlay is currently available in 90% of all cars manufactured in the US and 75% worldwide, which explains why the company announced what it described as the biggest update to CarPlay since its introduction in 2014.

The update, which will be released in the fall with iOS 13, is dominated by a redesign of CarPlay’s interface. In the current version of CarPlay, only one app is displayed onscreen at a time and using Siri takes over the whole screen. The new UI, which Apple is calling CarPlay Dashboard, allows two apps plus Siri suggestions or the Siri interface to be displayed at one time.

During the demo, Apple showed off Maps side-by-side with Music and a Siri suggestion to open a garage door using a HomeKit shortcut. Although apps can coexist next to each other in the update, the demo also showed apps like Music being used full-screen. When Siri was activated while Music was displayed full-screen, Siri’s familiar stylized sound wave pattern appeared beneath the Music controls and artwork, which is a nice departure from the current system where Siri’s UI takes over the entire display.

In another nice Siri addition, the voice assistant will now work with third-party CarPlay-enabled apps like Waze and Pandora. Currently, Waze has a separate button in the app’s UI to trigger voice control. That makes voice control more difficult and frustrating in third-party apps because they all implement voice control a little differently. In the fall though, developers will be able to update their apps to take advantage of the same in-car Siri hardware buttons as Apple’s apps.

Apps will also be added and updated. Apple previewed a new CarPlay version of the iOS Calendar app, and Music has been redesigned to include album art.

Apple didn’t say whether the update will be backwards compatible with existing car entertainment systems, but because that’s historically been one of CarPlay’s selling points, I expect it will be. A revamped CarPlay was an unexpected surprise yesterday, and although I haven’t had a chance to try it yet, I like what was shown during the demo, especially the ability to keep Maps on the same screen as another app.


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Waze Adds CarPlay Support

Today, Waze, which is owned by Google, updated its iOS app with CarPlay support, which Google Maps received last week. I took Waze out for a few errands over lunch and in my limited testing was impressed.

Waze immediately identified nearby stoplight cameras.

Waze immediately identified nearby stoplight cameras.

The first stop was the bank to pick up some cash. As I passed through a busy intersection, Waze warned me that there were stoplight cameras ahead, which I knew about, but it was good to see Waze did too.

I'm glad I missed that sheet of plywood in the road.

I’m glad I missed that sheet of plywood in the road.

Next, it was off for some steak tacos to celebrate finally finishing my Mojave review. On the way, Waze said there was an object in the road. Sure enough, there was a piece of plywood straddling two lanes not too far ahead. Waze also alerted me to heavy traffic just ahead of my turnoff.

Waze alerted me to local road work.

Waze alerted me to local road work.

With each alert, the CarPlay UI displayed a notification with two choices: ‘Thanks!” and ‘Not there,’ with big buttons to allow me to help train the Waze database. I flipped back to Overcast, and as I approached my next turn, Waze announced it, momentarily pausing the audio, and displayed a notification that I could tap to return to the map of my route.

Tapping the Waze notification takes you back to the map view.

Tapping the Waze notification takes you back to the map view.

For people who use Waze regularly, those sorts of alerts and notifications will be familiar. Apple Maps still has the advantage of Siri integration with the hardware buttons on my steering wheel because like Google Maps, Waze can’t access Siri. That’s a shame because it’s easier to press a dedicated steering wheel button than it is to poke at a CarPlay screen in the center of your dashboard to do a voice search, but from a parked position in a bank parking lot the voice command I gave it was recognized immediately and I was on my way to the correct location.

I’ve only used Waze for this one trip, but my first impression was that the app is solid and should be well-received by its users. Especially for commuters that want traffic and other real-time, crowd-sourced data, Waze is a great option.

Waze is available as a free download on the App Store.


Google Maps Adds CarPlay Support

I just got home from a trip to my local drugstore using Google Maps’ new CarPlay integration. Once I had a destination selected and was on my way, the experience was fine, as long as I didn’t stray from the path. Overall though, from my very preliminary, single test drive, I wasn’t left wanting to switch away from Apple Maps.

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