Volkswagen is the first car maker to offer wireless CarPlay, but Apple doesn’t want them to show you how cool it is.
This isn’t a new feature; if you have an iPhone running iOS 9, it’s in there. But all CarPlay-compatible vehicles currently available go the wired route, making you plug your handset into your ride’s console to use the protocol. Volkswagen has managed to make the feature wireless, but Apple has forbidden the company from giving demos at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week.
“We wanted to demonstrate wireless CarPlay, and the owner of CarPlay technology didn’t allow us to,” Volkswagen’s spectacularly named head of electrical and electronic development Volkmar Tannerberger told Car and Driver.
That “owner of CarPlay technology” is, of course, Apple. CarPlay is a protocol that allows compatible vehicles to mirror most of an iPhone’s home screen on its dashboard display. This allows drivers to access their music, navigation, messages, and other features faster and more safely than if they were fiddling around with their phone while driving.
We aren’t sure why Apple doesn’t want CarPlay’s new mojo out in the wild yet. But considering the control it typically exerts over its own products, it likely wants to break the news itself, or it is waiting for more automakers to work it into their products so that they can play up its widespread availability.
The fact remains, however, that Volkswagen has cracked the code on wireless CarPlay, making it the first company to roll out a version of the protocol that doesn’t ask drivers to inevitably destroy a $19 to $29 Lightning-to-USB cable. And we salute them for that.
Thanks to Erik Johnson for the tip.