Opinion: Does CarPlay go far enough, or should car manufacturers let Apple do more?

carplay

CarPlay is undoubtedly a big step in the right direction. Instead of car manufacturers using their own clunky user-interfaces to give you access to things like phone calls and music, there is now a standard, Apple-designed interface.

This makes perfect sense. Apple is the king of user-interface design, and most car manufacturers, well, aren’t. There was a time when I was driving a lot of rental cars and got to experience a whole bunch of different in-car screen systems, and they ranged in usability from halfway ok to downright dreadful. None offered anything close to the simplicity and clarity of CarPlay.

The question I have about CarPlay is: does it go far enough … ?
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Apple rebrands iOS in the Car as CarPlay, compatible vehicles launching later this year

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.

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See iOS in the Car in action on iOS Simulator ahead of release (Updated with new video)

Earlier this month we reported that a developer was seemingly able to get Apple’s upcoming iOS in the Car feature running through what we assumed was the iOS Simulator. Today, the same developer, Steven Troughton-Smith, has posted the video embedded above showing the feature actually up and running in a 800×480 Simulator window. Using the iPhone Simulator and iOS 7.0.3, the video shows the Maps app, a crude multitasking tray of sorts, and the ability to search by voice to navigate. No other apps are shown in the video, but it does appear that media controls of some kind are in the multitasking tray like in previous versions of iOS.

We noted before that the design had changed quite significantly since Apple first showed off the feature on stage at WWDC last year. The first set of screenshots posted showed a horizontal navigation bar, but the new video shows a design that’s much closer to what Apple showed on stage and what it is currently displaying on its website. Smith also made some notes of his own after playing with the simulator: Read more

BMW app integration, Plants vs Zombies 2, IM+, Pac-Man, StreamBoard, deals, more

BMW-App-integration-audible

News:

BMW iOS app integration: Following some recent Siri Eyes Free news from Chevrolet, BMW announced today that it has partnered with handful of developers to bring similar eyes free experiences for a number of third-party iOS apps to its vehicles. BMW has partnered with Audible for audio books, Glympse for location sharing services, Rhapsody for subscription music and TuneIn for internet radio, all of which will be updating their apps in the weeks to come for compatibility with the BMW Apps system.

Plants vs Zombies 2: PopCap announced today that part two of its incredibly popular Plants vs Zombies title is finally going to land on iOS in additional to all the other usual platforms “early summer.”  No clues on what might be included in the second installment, but in the meantime PopCap will launch a new version of the game on Facebook.

App Updates:

IM+ Instant Messenger version 7.7: A nice update to the very popular IM+ service today offers Beep mobile-to-mobile service as an in-app purchase, the ability to preview transferred images directly in chats, and the usual bug fixes and performance enhancements. iPad users will also now be able to capture photos and videos in the app.

StreamBoard version 5.0: The Twitter client that lets you track keywords and hashtags in real-time is updated to version 5.0 with many new features and enhancements:

For this incredible milestone, StreamBoard has been rewritten from the ground up bringing to you:
– A brand new streamlined interface powered by gestures
– A reimagined filter view featuring real-time graphs that you can interact with
– Much improved engine for faster speed!
– and many more!

Pac-Man version 3.5.0: iOS 6 support and new features for the Pac-Man iPad app.

Added support for iOS 6
Fixed Game Center issue for iOS 6
Updated More Games functionality

Deals: Read more