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

GM first to sport Siri’s ‘Eyes Free’ feature with the Chevy Sonic and Spark starting next year

During its opening keynote at WWDC, Apple announced Siri would gain an all-new “Eyes Free” feature as part of iOS 6. After five months of quiet about the feature, General Motors announced this morning that it would be the first of nine automakers previously outlined to adopt Eyes Free in its vehicles starting early next year. Of its fleet, the Chevrolet Spark (1LT, 2LT) and Sonic LTZ and RS will be the first.

Eyes Free lets automakers include a button on their automobiles that allows drivers to initiate Siri for sending messages, making calls, setting reminders, launching apps, and accessing a slew of information from inside of the car without picking up the device.

GM will include the Eyes Free feature on the automobiles, but it still won’t do away with its Chevrolet MyLink info-tainment system. However, if an iPhone 4S or iPhone 5 enters the car running iOS 6, they can connect over Bluetooth with GM’s MyLink radio feature. From there, they can use the Eyes Free steering wheel button to access information. Additionally, the screen won’t light up to minimize distraction. Shown off in the gallery below:

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