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.
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Apple confirms in the specs that CarPlay will only be allowed for in-dash units built into vehicles or through aftermarket installations and that rear-seat or other integrations are not yet permitted.
While most current implementations utilize USB to connect to an iPhone, Apple allows use of a Lightning connector via a dock or custom cable solution. In addition, Apple has requirements for audio and noise cancellation features, such as recommending hardware be capable of 24 bit 48kHz audio (but allows 16 bit at a lesser sample rate). It also allows a vehicle to send sensor data to an Apple device including estimate range remaining, engine type, outside temperature, and more.
Other requirements include a display with a minimum 6-inch diagonal display with a minimum resolution of 800 x 480 and 30 Hz refresh rate, and a tactile hardware button for Siri (in some cases located on the steering wheel).
Apple will have all of its CarPlay hardware go through the MFi program, which means the product will require an authentication chip that aims to prevent unofficial products from offering the CarPlay feature.
Since officially introducing CarPlay earlier this year, Apple has worked with mostly major vehicle manufacturers, and the feature has arrived in select vehicles along with a couple aftermarket options (We reviewed one from Pioneer.) Apple has announced a long list of car manufacturers working to implement the feature, and many have announced it will arrive in upcoming vehicles, but so far only Ferrari has the feature on the road in new vehicles while others stall on firmware updates for previously announced vehicles.
In addition, Apple has also revised specs outlining best practices for user interaction with its Siri Eyes Free feature available in select vehicles.
While we’ve so far only seen CarPlay aftermarket products from Pioneer and Alpine, we could see many others hit the market soon following the introduction of specs for all.