CarPlay and Android Auto are Apple and Google’s first attempts to slowly invade the automobile, but finding a car that supports them hasn’t been easy the past year. If you’ve been curious what it’s like to drive around with either system, the folks at Consumer Reports put the two systems head-to-head during a morning drive to get coffee.
Each interface has its promises, but the report also highlights a lot of areas that need to be worked on — like how you can’t change your car’s FM radio while using Apple Maps. Unlike your car system though, CarPlay and Android Auto will probably be upgraded every year, giving you new features each year, just like your smartphone
Here’s what it’s like to ride with CarPlay and Android :
The countdown to WWDC 2015’s big revelations begins.
With the Worldwide Developers Conference less than a week away, we’ve already got a pretty good idea about what Apple will reveal at this year’s conference.
The company focuses on developer-related products at the conference, but there are plenty of goodies that normals will go crazy for too, like the bevy of improvements coming to iOS 9, a new Apple TV and maybe even a new music streaming service.
Here’s what to expect from WWDC 2015, which runs June 8 to 12 at Moscone Center in San Francisco. (Cult of Mac will be liveblogging the Apple keynote, which starts at 10 a.m. Pacific next Monday, so be sure to check back then for news and instant analysis.)
Don’t expect pure CarPlay in Ford vehicles anytime soon. Photo: Apple
Apple’s CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto are the two hottest options right now for car infotainment systems, but if you’re hoping that Ford will give you a pure CarPlay experience in one of their upcoming vehicles, you might as well keep on waiting for the mythical Apple Car.
Ford currently supports both CarPlay and Android in a limited capacity, but for now its CEO says the company will only allow the two systems to serve as secondary interfaces to its primary navigation system, SYNC.
CarPlay isn’t coming to Toyota after all. Photo: Apple
Toyota was one of the first car manufacturers to announce it would support CarPlay, but the company is pulling back on its plans to embrace Apple’s car infotainment system. Despite still being listed among Apple’s CarPlay partners, Toyota says it’s sticking with its own Entune systems.
The company says that while it has talked frequently to both Apple and Google about CarPlay and Android Auto, it has no plans to bring the technologies to its cars in the United States anytime soon. Toyota’s manager of advanced technology communications, John Hanson, told the New York Times, “We may all eventually wind up there, but right now we prefer to use our in-house proprietary platforms for those kinds of functions,” Mr. Hanson said.
While Toyota’s not so hot on CarPlay, other manufacturers like Ford, BMW, Volkswagon, and GM are more bullish on Apple’s car offerings. Here’s a full breakdown of which service auto makers currently support:
Is Apple designing a car? Maybe that’s the real reason it picked up designer Mark Newsom, who created this concept car for Ford in 1999. Credit: Mark Newsom/Ford
Apple has set up a top-secret automobile R&D lab and is recruiting experts to possibly build a car, the Financial Times reports.
The lab is in a secret location away from Apple’s HQ. Apple recently hired the head of Mercedes-Benz’s Silicon Valley R&D unit, and has staffed the new lab with “experienced managers from its iPhone unit,” the Times says.
“Three months ago I would have said it was CarPlay,” said one of FT‘s sources. “Today I think it’s a car.”
Get ready for Apple-approved third-party CarPlay accessories. Photo: Mercedes/Apple
There’s a line of thought which suggests that Apple’s CarPlay technology essentially turns your car into one giant iPhone add-on. A new trademark application, however, suggests that Apple is planning to lend its approval to some other, likely smaller third-party CarPlay accessories — coming soon to a vehicle near you.
Similar to the “Works With iPhone” developer program for accessories designed to connect specifically with the iPhone, Apple’s “Works with CarPlay” trademark will certify that a particular third-party product has been approved as meeting Apple’s performance standards for its in-car iOS interface.
CarPlay — coming to a (jailbroken) iPhone near you. Photo: Adam Bell
The first vehicles to support Apple’s CarPlay infotainment system are just starting to appear on the market, but a clever hack from developer Adam Bell means you may be able to get your hands on it sooner than most — and without the need for a compatible in-car infotainment system.
Despite not quite being ready for primetime just yet, Bell’s nifty jailbreak means that users will be able run Apple’s CarPlay software on iPhones and iPads, as seen in the above picture.
A new patent published Thursday describes a way of using the iPhone’s geo-location capabilities to intelligently monitor and control certain car functions, based on “geofences.”
Likely pairing with Apple’s vehicle-based OS, CarPlay, the patent notes how your car could be tracked in relation to your iPhone — with appropriate signals, sent using Bluetooth LE, to execute functions like locking your car and arming its alarm when you are a certain distance from the vehicle.