Screenshot from Apple's website

Screenshot from Apple’s website

Update: Volvo has posted a CarPlay experience video.

Apple has officially announced CarPlay in a press release. CarPlay is Apple’s new branding for the iOS in the Car feature originally announced at WWDC last year. Apple says CarPlay enables users to make calls, navigate maps, listen to music and access messages from the dash of compatible cars. Siri can be activated by pressing the dedicated button on the steering wheel. Apple describes the system as a “smarter, safer and more fun way” of using an iPhone in the car.

As previously reported, CarPlay will be demoed in cars by Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo this week with the cars going on sale later in the year. Apple says many manufacturers are onboard, including BMW, Ford, GM, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar, Kia, Nissan, Subaru, Suzuki and Toyota. Apple has also a launched a new section of its website to describe the various features of CarPlay.

Screen Shot 2014-03-03 at 08.31.29

The interface reflects the design shown in these leaks from January, with the home button controls spanning the left side of the display. The home screen looks almost identical to the home screen of an iOS device, with roundrect app icons arranged in a grid. CarPlay is available for all iOS 7 phones (after an update, presumably 7.1) with a Lightning connector.

In the press release, Greg Joswiak said that Apple created CarPlay to give iOS users an incredible experience in their car.

“CarPlay has been designed from the ground up to provide drivers with an incredible experience using their iPhone in the car,” said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s vice president of iPhone and iOS Product Marketing. “iPhone users always want their content at their fingertips and CarPlay lets drivers use their iPhone in the car with minimized distraction. We have an amazing lineup of auto partners rolling out CarPlay, and we’re thrilled it will make its debut this week in Geneva.”

Interestingly, the press release says that whilst maps, messages and phone integration is limited to Apple’s own apps and services, music controls will work with “select third-party audio apps”, such as Spotify and iHeart Radio.

On its site, Apple also calls out Beats Radio and Stitcher in addition to its own Podcasts app as having supporting for CarPlay. Apple says that more supported apps are ‘coming soon’ — it is unclear whether this integration can be used by all developers through an API or whether you need special agreements with Apple to make it happen.

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25 Responses to “Apple rebrands iOS in the Car as CarPlay, compatible vehicles launching later this year”

  1. Will you be able to buy a non integrated system to retrofit into older cars?

  2. “CarPlay will also support additional audio apps that you’ve downloaded to your iPhone for enjoying podcasts, music, and radio.”

    That’s great news for iOS 8!

  3. I hope that manufacturers will release an update to some current car models to support this. Saying that, they probably won’t so they can try and gain more new car sales!!

  4. rahhbriley says:

    Has Ford ever been on the list to support any of Apple’s car initiatives??

    I could be mistaken, but I always look for them to be on the list and thought they’ve never been one of the manufacturers to support it because of their use of Microsoft Sync.

    Am I wrong? Or is this the first time we’ve seen Ford on the list, which is kind of a big deal.

  5. The E-350 is my next Apple Accessory.

  6. And then my Audi goes peasant and will support Android. My next car will not be an Android powered Audi.

  7. I really like the sound of this feature, but until it becomes more widely available I’ll continue using “Harken For iPhone” in the car. It’s much easier to use than Apple’s music player (bigger text, large buttons/touch areas). There’s also “Harken” on the iPad but I need a new cradle for my iPad so I can’t use it at the moment.

  8. Ah, it’s the retrofit and aftermarket that I’m interested in. My MINI can have phone integration, has buttons on the steering wheel for this purpose. Seems like it would be easy to retrofit if Apple licenses the technology to any aftermarket companies.

    I’ve often thought of installing an iPad Mini in the car. This might be the solution. But I’m sure at first it will be a vehicle to sell new vehicles. So the aftermarket market may be slow to develop as Apple will not be focusing there.

  9. Dave Devine says:

    I wish they would allow me to play podcasts through iTunes (Music Player). My navigation software will pause playback to make announcements if playback is via the Music Player, but not in any other app. Since this is my most frequent use of the phone in the car, it is a major sticking point for me.

  10. I hope it’s able to retrofit. I have a 2013 Volvo with a 7-inch non touch screen. Parrot DOES make a after market device that attaches a touch screen and a module with some apps on it. I also have a USB, Bluetooth and Aux-in interface. I see no reason why someone can’t create a touch screen add-on and an interface for the iPhone to add to cars like mine that already have a screen and input capabilities.

  11. I have 2014 Honda Civic Coupe EX which I purchased because of the iOS in the Car feature, now called CarPlay. When will Honda have CarPlay available and what will the method of delivery be, i.e., update at dealership? How will I be notified? I contacted Honda a month ago and they said it would be released “soon.” YES I have iOS 5S, with iOS 7.1, so I am all set, just waiting for Honda. Do you have any information on this?