Apple’s next-generation of CarPlay is set to revolutionize the driving experience by taking over the instrument cluster of a vehicle and all other displays, but it probably won’t be coming to current model-year vehicles or older. CarPlay is a software created by Apple for midsize media displays on cars and is very similar to iOS. Through a connection to a compatible iPhone, users can utilize an iOS-like experience on their car’s display to send texts, consume media, and get driving directions while on the road. Apple’s next-generation software was unveiled at the Worldwide Developers Conference in June alongside iOS 16, and both are slated for release in the coming months. The problem for CarPlay, it’ll take quite a bit of development on the part of automotive manufacturers to support the new features.
Before the next-generation of CarPlay was officially announced at WWDC, there were rumors that Apple was working on a more expansive software version for vehicles. The company has been working on a car of its own behind the scenes for years, despite turbulence and turnover on the project’s team of engineers. A report suggested that a version of CarPlay would be the single point of control for all aspects of the vehicle, sort of how a Tesla is controlled. As it turns out, users didn’t have to wait long to see what that might look like. Apple revealed the all-encompassing version of CarPlay without any hardware of its own, allowing other car manufacturers to incorporate the software into their vehicles. However, the adoption rate might not be as high as end-users would hope.
Current generations of CarPlay can manage the media console of the car, but all other vehicle displays match the user-interface of the car manufacturer. With the latest generation of CarPlay, the software can take over multiple screens of different sizes and uses in a car, providing a universal experience. According to Apple, the company is aiming for deep integration with cars, offering the ability to control the radio or change the climate within the CarPlay environment. The software would also communicate directly with the vehicle, displaying metrics like fuel and speed through CarPlay. If the software is widely adopted, this would be a huge selling point for iPhone users, but that is doubtful. Due to the tight integration with specific cars that next-gen CarPlay would require, it’s unlikely it would make its way to most cars.
Next-Gen CarPlay Might Be A Test Drive For Apple Car
The tight integration between the car’s onboard computer and next-generation CarPlay all but rule out the software coming to existing vehicles. Even for new cars set to be released in the coming years, the amount of development support required puts its adoption in doubt. At the WWDC event where next-gen CarPlay was announced, there were no confirmed automotive manufacturers to support the feature. The company said in a press release that vehicles to support the next version of CarPlay would be announced starting next year, but no further information was provided.
The Verge reached out to 12 different automotive manufacturers following the announcement to gauge their interest in the new software, and their responses weren’t promising. Stellantis (formerly known as Fiat Chrysler), Ford, and General Motors — three of the largest U.S. automakers — did not have a comment regarding their support of next-gen CarPlay, but the former noted the impact of its integration. “This is more of an Apple operating system for automotive applications rather than a CarPlay upgrade,” a spokesperson for Stellantis said without any specific announcements. Since Apple’s new CarPlay is all-encompassing and requires tight integration with the car, it probably won’t be coming to most cars. If anything, the next version of CarPlay is probably just a test drive for an eventual Apple Car.