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Posts tagged with "CarPlay"

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. (View full size)

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. (View full size)

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. (View full size)

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. (View full size)

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.