How to use Intercom on HomePod, iPhone, AirPods and more

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How to use Intercom
Intercom is on its way. Here's all you need to know.
Image: Apple/Cult of Mac

Apple’s new Intercom feature lets you use HomePods to send short audio messages to almost anyone with an Apple device. While Apple showcased Intercom when unveiling the upcoming HomePod mini smart speaker, the feature also works with the regular HomePod as well as iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and more.

If you a HomePod, and you’ve updated it (and your other Apple devices) with the latest software, you can use Intercom to communicate with your family or housemates in new ways.

Porsche’s electric Taycan comes with 3 years of Apple Music included

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Porsche Taycan
Apple Music comes baked in.
Photo: Porsche

Porsche’s forthcoming electric Taycan will offer three years of free Apple Music streaming. No tethered or wireless iPhone connection needed.

The system will rely on its own in-car dash. Drivers and passengers can use a touch screen and custom Porsche AI voice assistant to select albums, songs, or radio stations. Streaming data costs included.

Google Maps finds its way to Apple Watch

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Google Maps on an Apple Watch
Google Maps fans can now get turn-by-turn directions on their Apple Watch.
Photo: Cult of Mac/Google

A version of Google Maps for the Apple Watch starts rolling on Monday. The goal of this app is to allow users to navigate by car, bike, public transit or on foot, without having to look at an iPhone.

Also, Google Maps for Apple’s CarPlay Dashboard got some convenient new features today.

CarKey feature will let you unlock and start your car using iPhone

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CarKey
You can share keys with Messages, too.
Photo: Apple

WWDC 2020

Apple’s car-focused tech got a nifty update at WWDC, letting users start their cars with their iPhone. Announced Monday, Apple’s new CarKey digital car keys feature will allow you to unlock and start select vehicles using NFC technology.

Emily Schubert, Apple’s Engineering Manager for Car Experience showed off the feature, which promises to revolutionize the way you start your vehicle for the 21st century.

How to customize your CarPlay setup and ditch apps you don’t need

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BMW could ditch its pricey annual subscription cost for CarPlay
Don't settle for the default CarPlay layout.
Photo: Sony

CarPlay makes it safe to use some of your favorite iPhone apps on the road, and by default, anything with CarPlay support will automatically appear in your car. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Simplify your experience and make CarPlay even easier to use by customizing your layout and ditching apps you don’t need.

Want to use CarPlay in your classic 1960s Porsche? Now you can

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Classic Porsche CarPlay
Now all I need is the classic Porsche to go with it!
Photo: Porsche

Want to feel like a 1960s spy? Fire up your vintage sports car, take to a winding road in the Swiss alps, and then call up information on your auto’s touchscreen control panel.

Such a thing, once firmly in the realm of fiction, is now possible thanks to a new line of CarPlay radios created by Porsche. Allowing you to kit out cars dating back to the 1960s with high-resolution touchscreens, Bluetooth, DAB+, and Apple’s in-car infotainment system, the head units opens up CarPlay to a whole new audience.

Today in Apple history: Apple teams with Volkswagen for iBeetle car

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The first Apple car, a collaboration with VW known as the iBeetle, rolls onto the scene.
The first Apple car, a collaboration with VW known as the iBeetle, rolls onto the scene.
Photo: Volkswagen

April 22: Today in Apple history: Apple teams with VW for the iBeetle April 22, 2013: The world gets its first Apple car. Well, kind of.

In reality, the iBeetle is a collaboration with German automaker Volkswagen that offers a car “stylistically linked” to Apple. This means Apple-inspired colors, a built-in docking station for your iPhone, and a special app that lets you control the car’s features.

Using CarPlay is more dangerous than texting while driving, study claims

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BMW could ditch its pricey annual subscription cost for CarPlay
CarPlay: good for your infotainment system, not your reaction times.
Photo: Sony

Using Apple’s CarPlay platform in its current state is worse for drivers’ reaction times than being high on weed, at the drink-drive legal limit, or texting behind the wheel, a new study claims.

IAM RoadSmart, the biggest road U.K. safety charity, analyzed the impact of various in-car distractions. While CarPlay may make the experience of using your car’s infotainment system more enjoyable, the group’s research concludes that it certainly won’t make you a better driver.

“The fundamental issue of these systems [is that they require] you to take your eyes off the road ahead,” Neil Greig, policy and research director for IAM RoadSmart, told Cult of Mac. However, Greig said steps could be taken to make systems like CarPlay safer.