pple is famous for giving us a better interface for our
gadgets: first for personal computers, then MP3 players, then smartphones and tablets. And now, the car.
In early March, Apple launched CarPlay at the Geneva International Motor Show, with Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz, and Volvo
showing off the new technology in their vehicles.
CarPlay lets you take advantage of various iPhone functions
in your car with minimal distraction. You can make and receive
calls, listen to voicemail, use the Maps app, listen to music,
and send and receive text messages. You simply press a dedicated button on the steering wheel to alert Siri, and then you
control CarPlay just by speaking. Siri even reads your incoming messages to you and lets you dictate responses.
In addition to controlling CarPlay with Siri, if your car has a
display with a touchscreen, you can control it that way. Plus,
the knobs and controls for your in-car display can also be used
to control CarPlay, such that, for example, turning up the volume knob will increase the volume of the music being played
from your iPhone.
Of course, a major feature of CarPlay is Apple’s Maps. As
with your iPhone, you can simply ask Siri for directions, and a
map will appear on the in-car display along with spoken turn-by-turn directions, traffic conditions, and estimated travel time.
But, interestingly, Apple has added a layer of intelligence to
CarPlay that gives it much more functionality. It actually anticipates your needs and predicts where you want to go based
on recent trips and by using addresses from your email, text
messages, contacts, and calendar.
In addition to using CarPlay for listening to your music, pod-casts, audiobooks, and i Tunes Radio, you’ll also be able to use
it with specific third-party audio apps such as Spotify, Beats
Radio, Stitcher, and iHeartRadio. Apple says that more apps
will be coming soon.
In addition to the three auto manufacturers who have already rolled CarPlay out, over a dozen others are planning to
offer it this year: BMW, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyun-dai, Jaguar Land Rover, Kia, Mitsubishi, Nissan, PSA Peugeot
Citroën, Subaru, Suzuki, and Toyota.
While Apple has clearly thought about CarPlay’s safety—its
focus is on hands-free and eyes-free operation, after all—its
launch still caused some concern. The American Automobile
Association said research suggests that focusing on other
tasks while driving, even eyes-free, can adversely affect traffic
It’s great to see Apple taking this new direction, and it’s
quite impressive how many automakers are on board. If
you’re eager to have CarPlay but aren’t ready to buy a new
car, it appears that at least a few automakers, including Mercedes, will be offering CarPlay installation for some older vehicles. CarPlay only works with the iPhone 5, 5s, and 5c.
APPLE LAUNCHES CARPLAY
USE IPHONE FEATURES WHILE DRIVING—WITH MINIMAL DISTRACTION
BY JIM KARPEN
Jim Karpen, Ph.D, is on faculty at Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield,
IA. He has been writing about the revolutionary consequences of computer technology since 1994. His Ph.D dissertation anticipated the Internet revolution. His site,
jimkarpen.com, contains selected regular columns written for The Iowa Source.