Apple hires head of Mercedes-Benz R&D, other auto experts for new secret research lab

Apple has hired former president and CEO of Mercedes-Benz Research & Development Johann Jungwirth to join the company as Director of Mac Systems Engineering. The hire was confirmed by Jungwirth’s LinkedIn page, and first noted by a report in the Financial Times detailing Apple’s recent hires in the automotive industry and secretive new automotive research lab.

The report claims Apple’s automotive hires are for a new research lab where “experienced managers from its iPhone unit, are researching automotive products.” Read more

iOS 8.3 brings wireless CarPlay, improved Google login, new Emojis, China Apple Pay

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Earlier today, Apple seeded the first iOS 8.3 build to developers alongside Xcode 6.3 beta with Swift 1.2. Readers have discovered that the new operating system brings a new wireless CarPlay feature to the iPhone. This means that users can now wirelessly connect their iPhone to the car to bring an iOS-like experience the dashboard. Previously, users would have to connect their iPhone to the car via a USB Lightning cable. We first reported in March 2014 that Apple has been working on wireless CarPlay. It’s yet to be seen how long the wireless CarPlay rollout takes and which cars support it in the future. The new update also, like with OS X 10.10.3, brings easier Google login functionality for users with two-factor accounts:

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Why my next car probably won’t have CarPlay (Spoiler: Apple Watch)

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My next new car probably won’t have CarPlay. I’ve reached this decision in part due to automakers’ slow crawl to put CarPlay in vehicles that you can actually buy today. While 2015 may bring the feature to more vehicles on the road with more than 30 automobile brands committed to ship CarPlay in the future, we’re still not there yet and the roll out is slow.

More influential, though, is my experience using aftermarket CarPlay in my current car for several months convincing me that CarPlay’s features are not yet where they need to be. As I noted in my hands-on review last fall, CarPlay introduces a new set of problems while trying to make using your iPhone in the car safer and easier.

So if CarPlay isn’t ultimately the answer to creating a better iPhone experience on the road, then what is? I’m convinced the Apple Watch will be better suited…

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Roundup: Find all of 9to5Mac’s CES 2015 coverage in one place

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If you’ve somehow missed the overflow of coverage from CES 2015 last week, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. During the show we took a look at the latest devices and accessories that are expected to be released throughout 2015. The show was packed with new smartphones, home automation tools, cases, and some unexpected surprises. If you didn’t catch all of the coverage from the show, check out the roundup below with links to everything that we found interesting…

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Harman debuts touchscreen-free CarPlay solution, Integrated Essentials Cockpit

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Demonstrating how Apple’s CarPlay will be integrated into upcoming budget vehicles, Harman has shown the Integrated Essentials Cockpit, a new OEM solution that does away with direct touchscreen interaction in favor of a steering wheel-mounted touchpad. The Integrated Essentials Cockpit eliminates the currently popular center console-mounted screen, instead bringing Apple’s CarPlay interface directly into the dashboard behind the steering wheel.

Unusually, the CarPlay UI then sits between a left-side speedometer and a right-side tachometer, below a bar with a thermometer and above a fuel gauge and odometer. More pictures and details are below.

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Pioneer unveils its improved NEX in-dash receivers with CarPlay

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Pioneer was first to bring CarPlay to the market without requiring you to buy a new car, and at CES 2015 today the company announced the second generation of its CarPlay-enabled NEX in-dash receivers. The latest Pioneer NEX displays all support CarPlay and start at $700 with 6.2-inch and 7-inch resistive and capacitive touch displays.

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Kenwood introduces its first aftermarket CarPlay display at CES 2015

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Kenwood announced today at CES 2015 its first entry into the aftermarket CarPlay space with its new DDX9902S multimedia receiver. Kenwood’s announcement follows the roll out of competing aftermarket CarPlay head units from both Pioneer, which was first to bring CarPlay to the market and Alpine, which built a dedicated CarPlay display. In addition to supporting CarPlay, Kenwood says its DDX9902S display will support Google’s Android Auto feature in the same unit. Read more

Volkswagen confirms plans to launch CarPlay support later this year

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Volkswagen, at CES 2015, has finally announced what it plans to do with both CarPlay and Android Auto. The German auto manufacturer has confirmed that it will begin shipping cars with CarPlay capabilities later this year in its 2016 models. We reported back July of last year that Volkswagen and Apple were in talks to bring CarPlay to VW’s 2016 models.

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Parrot introduces CarPlay-powered RNB6 infotainment system

Parrot today introduced its new infotainment system, currently known only by its model number, “RNB6,” that features a 7-inch 720p display. The system runs on a custom build of Android, but has full support for the iPhone’s CarPlay feature, allowing control of your cell phone’s key functions through your dashboard.

Even without a phone connected, the system offers onboard navigation (integrated with the dashcam), phone call capability (presumably over Bluetooth unless connected via CarPlay or Android Auto), vehicle diagnostics, music and climate control, and more.

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Apple fast tracks CarPlay hardware development w/ official MFi specs for head units

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Apple’s new CarPlay iOS feature has recently arrived through a limited number of in-dash vehicle entertainment systems and aftermarket products, but Apple has now introduced official guidelines for companies building CarPlay hardware through its Made-for-iPhone/iPad/iPod (MFi) licensing program, according to sources.  Read more

Zac’s holiday gift guide – a little something for everyone’s iPhone, iPad, & Mac

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Most of my favorite gift picks this year fall into the category of using the iPhone and iPad on the road so I already shared my favorite gift items for road warriors including CarPlay in-dash receivers and more. The Mac, though, is less transit-friendly when it comes to gifts unless you’re looking for a power adapter for charging in the car, so below I’ve collected some more Mac-friendly gift picks as well as a few analog options and more. Catch up with the rest of 9to5Mac’s holiday gift guides for more ideas and follow 9to5Toys.com for the latest deals.  Read more

Apple CarPlay vs Google Android Auto — full comparison (Video)

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Apple and Google are back at it again and attempting to bring a safe and friendly mobile experience to your car. Android Auto and CarPlay are the two company’s re-imagining of mobile user interfaces for the car and both are gearing up for a major rollout over the next year.

Each system is designed to work with its respective native mobile platform, but there are differences between the two that may appeal to different people. Today we’re comparing Apple’s CarPlay to Google’s Android Auto using the 2015 Hyundai Sonata. This car comes packed with both systems, so you won’t have to compromise either way, but there are some important differences between the two…

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