The first vehicles to support Apple’s CarPlay infotainment system are just starting to roll off the assembly lines, but within five years CarPlay could be the most popular car platform in the world, with over 24 million cars sporting Cupertino’s dashboard system.
Despite being in its infancy, a host of auto manufacturers from Audio to Volvo are partnering with Apple on CarPLay, and ABI Research estimates that more vehicles will use CarPlay by 2019 than MirrorLink, the #1 open source solution that integrates popular smartphone apps with your vehicle’s dashboard.
Apple’s CarPlay solution allows you to use voice commands and a large touchscreen to interact with apps like Music, Maps, Messages, and Mail, with an interface that’s designed to keep your eyes on the road, rather than your smartphone screen. Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and other automakers have already shown off CarPlay equipped vehicles, but Apple’s nemesis Google isn’t far behind with its own solution, Android Auto.
ABI estimates that Apple’s closed ecosystem could foster more fragmentation among smart-dashboards. On the consumer end, that could mean worrying about whether your new car will be compatible with your smartphone, while manufacturers will now be forced to collaborate with multiple partners.
Google claims its already signed up 40 partners for Android Auto but we’ve only seen a few demos so far. Android’s open standard could make it more aggressive in capturing marketshare, but Apple plans to grow quickly thanks to a bevy of aftermarket systems from companies like Pioneer and Alpine that will equip your old clunker with Apple’s futuristic car system.