The goal of Apple’s new CarPlay is to take control of every dashboard panel, replacing user interfaces and controls and getting access to vital driver and vehicle data. With manufacturers hesitant to give up such precious real estate, it’s likely to spark a turf war.
While drivers see the extension of iPhone features into the dashboard as a convenience, automakers and IT firms see it as a lucrative market. By 2030, car data could be valued up to $400 billion yearly, according to McKinsey & Co. According to Fortune Business Insights, the global market for connected cars will increase from little under $60 billion in 2021 to more than $190 billion in 2028.
Automakers see vehicle data as a crucial and profitable part of their future business strategies as cars become more linked. They hope to make sales of products like pay-per-mile insurance and retailer route-based offers.
The search experience in automobiles, which are effectively browsers on wheels, is at risk, according to Roger Lanctot, director of automotive linked mobility at Strategy Analytics.
According to him, only the smallest and most recent automakers will be eager to hand up control of their dashboard and in-vehicle experiences to Apple.
When Apple unveiled the updated version of CarPlay at its yearly Worldwide Developer Conference in June, the company claimed that it was “working with automakers around the world.” The tech behemoth exhibited 14 prominent automaker logos, including well-known names like Ford, Mercedes-Benz, and Honda. It stated that starting late next year, the updated version will be offered in vehicles.
When contacted by Automotive News, automakers opted not to comment on how they would implement the new CarPlay version.
According to spokesman Stu Fowle, General Motors “has no definite plans to discuss yet how we’re approaching what Apple displayed earlier this summer.”
According to Andrew Brudnicki, a spokesman for Mercedes-Benz USA, “We analyse all potentially important new technologies and services internally.” We also have negotiations with Apple in this regard.
Miles Johnson, a spokeswoman for Hyundai Motor America, said: “Unfortunately, we cannot comment on future product plans.”
Worries about data loss
Several German automakers, including Audi, Mercedes-Benz, and Volkswagen, voiced worries about losing infotainment data, such as GPS search, when Apple debuted CarPlay in 2014. Until 2018, Toyota avoided including CarPlay and Android Auto, which gives Google’s Android devices a similar feature.
CarPlay is standard in every vehicle, so automakers can no longer differentiate their brands on in-dash displays. Currently, CarPlay is only allowed to replicate iPhone apps for calls, texts, and navigation on the center-dash display of a car. The system comes with a variety of other applications, such as Waze, Spotify, ChargePoint, and others. Voice commands and a car’s touchscreen are used by drivers to control the apps.
According to Emily Schubert, Apple’s senior manager for automotive experience engineering, the most recent version of CarPlay “communicates with your vehicle’s real-time systems” and penetrates the dashboard even farther.
The preview demonstrated how CarPlay might take the place of an automaker’s speedometer, tachometer, temperature gauges, and fuel or EV charge level displays on the instrument panel. Additionally, it enables the customization of an instrument panel using themes, palettes, backdrops, and dials selected by Apple.
Additionally, it may add programmable widgets to car displays that display data from a linked iPhone, including contacts from the address book, weather information, and calendar entries.
Automakers would need to start integrating the new version of CarPlay quickly due to their lengthy product lead times. Rob Passaro, an automotive technology and product management consultant who collaborated closely with Apple while at BMW, claimed that since the announcement, he hasn’t heard of any manufacturers moving forward with its deployment.
Nevertheless, Apple has a substantial competitive advantage over automakers thanks to its enormous market appeal. According to Brian Moody, senior editor of Cox Automotive’s Autotrader, buyers now perceive CarPlay as standard equipment.
According to Schubert, 79 percent of purchasers “only examine CarPlay-capable automobiles” when looking for new cars, and 98 percent of new cars currently come with CarPlay.
According to Mike Ramsey, an automotive and smart mobility researcher at Gartner, “trying to boot CarPlay at this stage is a very large risk.”
Tech goliaths take control
Apple has periodically enhanced CarPlay since its Geneva Motor Show debut eight years ago by adding new user interfaces, applications, and functionality. CarPlay received capabilities like indicating EV charging stations along a journey and providing customizable colour schemes in an upgrade last year.
The latest version, which comes as Google and Amazon also make strides into the car, would be the most significant update.
According to Lanctot, “Apple, Google, and Amazon are keen to own the emerging linked car.”
For many users, the infotainment systems offered by automakers are already essentially obsolete thanks to CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto.
The user experience war has been won by Apple and Google, according to Ramsey.
He remarked, “CarPlay and Android Auto aren’t perfect. But they do crucial tasks like accessing music, podcasts, and audio book apps much better than [automakers’] embedded systems.
Google, an Apple rival, has already gotten more dashboard-related with its Android Automotive Operating System (not to be confused with Android Auto). Automobile manufacturers include General Motors, Volvo/Polestar, Renault, Nissan, and Mitsubishi have Android Automotive installed in their vehicles.
The infotainment system, instrument panels, and other displays are all powered by Android Automotive, according to Andrew Poliak, chief technical officer for Panasonic Automotive Systems.
But because Android Automotive is an automotive operating system like QNX or Linux and gives automakers more control, Poliak added, it differs from the present CarPlay.
Using the Android Automotive OS, automakers can create their own systems and control what may run on them, according to Poliak.
According to Poliak, a number of automobiles currently use Google’s Android Automotive OS to run Apple CarPlay. Given Apple’s walled-garden approach to its technologies, this kind of interoperability is probably not going to be the case with the upcoming CarPlay version.
Google has improved its transparency and made explicit its automotive vision, according to Lanctot.
According to Lanctot, when it comes to rigidity, Apple is worse than Google. However, Apple will undoubtedly inform the auto industry that consumers want an Apple-like experience in their vehicles.