One hallmark of most Apple products is the tight integration between hardware and software. By controlling everything from the device to the apps running on it, Apple can design unique experiences that competitors have a hard time matching. Nothing highlights the advantage of that hardware/software interplay better than one of the few products where it’s missing – CarPlay. It’s the exception that proves the rule.
Don’t get me wrong – I prefer CarPlay to any auto manufacturer’s entertainment system that I’ve used, but the projection of a custom iOS interface onto my Honda’s laggy touchscreen reminds me every time I poke at it that I’m seeing a mirage. It looks like an Apple product on the surface, but the resemblance is only skin deep. As soon as you interact with CarPlay on Honda’s hardware, the spell is broken. Siri goes a long way to help maintain the illusion, but it’s a bridge too far that makes me long for an integrated solution that isn’t hamstrung by the Honda’s hardware.