Will Apple's CarPlay affect which car you buy next?

Will Apple's CarPlay affect which car you buy next?

Apple on Monday announced CarPlay, its rebadged "iOS in the Car," which it originally announced last year. It's been two years since we started hearing about iPhone integration in cars. I have to admit that I'm starting to wonder if it'll ever happen, and I don't think it's going to be a huge factor for me when it comes time to buy my next car. How about you?

CarPlay formally makes its introduction at the Geneva Motor Show later this week, in Geneva, Switzerland. CarPlay will enable you to access features of your iPhone from directly within the on-screen interface in your car's dashboard. This will ostensibly let you get directions, make calls, play music and more without having to take your eyes off the road - or at least without having to take your eyes as far off the road as you might if you're fumbling with your phone.

Car makers, of course, hope to entice you into new models by offering the new CarPlay feature. BMW, Ford, GM, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar, Kia, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Peugeot, Subaru, Suzuki and Toyota have all pledged support for CarPlay.

Siri control is a key feature, because that emphasizes the eyes-on-the-road aspect of CarPlay. You can use voice commands to use Maps, play music, send messages and more. Some third party apps like Spotify will be supported, too.

CarPlay will be dependent on a forthcoming iOS 7 update and will be available in new automobile models shipping in 2014.

I have to admit that I'm left a bit cold by this announcement. Apple first announced iOS in the Car last year, and Apple announced Siri Eyes Free a year before.

Part of my ambivalence is seeing Apple repeatedly promise this technology but seeing auto makers fail to deliver. I've gotten a bit gunshy and wonder if anyone's really up to the task, or willing to stick with it.

Also, at the risk of sounding like an old fart, I firmly believe that drivers should be focused on one thing - driving, not messing around with smartphones. Sure, the implicit promise of CarPlay is that you're going to be less distracted than you would by handling your iPhone, but distractions are distractions.

We'll see how far and how wide CarPlay is adopted by car makers. Based on the companies that are on board, it's clear that Apple's going for as wide a swath as possible, from affordable vehicles to luxury automobiles. That's important, because people from all walks of life use iPhones.

But CarPlay isn't on my list of must-have features for my next car. I'm still more concerned with fuel economy, safety, reliability and price. If the car maker puts CarPlay in for good measure, all the better, but it's going to be icing on the cake, and two equal cars from different makers are really going to have to be on a level playing field for me to have CarPlay the deciding factor between the two.

How about you? Will CarPlay be a make or break deal for you? Are you as tired of waiting for this as I am? Let me know what you think in the comments.

Peter Cohen

Managing Editor of iMore, Mac and gaming specialist and all-around technologist. Follow him on Twitter @flargh

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There are 53 comments. Add yours.

hbach1968 says:

Hopefully a joke question...

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Hollyw0od says:

Hopefully, but we know it isn't

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unstoppablekem says:

I'm not basing a decision on a multi thousand dollar car for stuff to "improve" your phone experience. It could be a small factor though. A poll here would be very nice.

emjayess says:

It's cool, but, even if I was in the market for a brand new car (and I've never purchased a new car in my life--not a good investment etc.), I don't need CarPlay--I've already got it ("He said he's already got one!"). I drive all over the city for work each day, and I have a ProClip on my dashboard and my iPhone is near eye level and only a a few inches away from my hand as it holds the steering wheel. I have also always had a Bluetooth earphone, so, with Siri, I really don't need to touch the phone much (just switched from the Plantronics Legend to the new Jawbone ERA--both very cool, but the ERA is the best for out and about, the Legend for in my office).

So my setup is no more distracting than the traditional talking to a passenger, fumbling with the radio or other controls, or reaching into the backseat for some food, water, a scraper (some old beaters used to get iced up windows in the winter on the INSIDE), or to whack the kids for making too much noise etc. (<---joke, for you sensitive types).

JaxBearsFan says:

I'd be willing to look at an after-market stereo for the car I just bought in July 2013. If the car manufacturer makes a model available & it's not a ton of money to swap out head units, I'd consider it.

pfluger says:

I guess in the near future we will see something like this in the extras list when you order your car:

[ ] Basic Radio (included)
[ ] Radio with Navigation (+$1,000)
[ ] Radio with Navigation (Apple CarPlay Support) (+$2,500)
[ ] Radio with Navigation (GoogleCar Support) (+$2,500)

And no, CarPlay availability wouldn't affect my decision.

Solamar says:

Can't afford BMW or most new cars. $30k+ for a car is just too much...

I'm not getting it unless it's available from the 3rd party car stereo market or as an upgrade option in my new Elio (www.eliomotors.com) that I'm looking to get Q1 of 2015. I can see adding it to my Elio. Just can't see getting a car JUST to have it...

Plenty of bluetooth stereo options out there that will do just as good for most use-cases.

bobbob1016 says:

Yes. It will cause me not to buy from any company supporting this. It means a large chunk of my car won't work well if I don't have an iOS device. It's an expensive cheap ploy to get me to keep an iPhone. I have an iPhone, as an iPod at moment, and mainly run BB10 and Android. I wouldn't accept the same thing from Google/BB if it was locked to their phones either. It is non-sense, and I'm more than happy with something like the MotoX's Moto-Assist.

Rob220 says:

+1

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rogifan says:

It's just a layer on top of your existing car OS. How would that impact your decision? If you don't have an iOS device then you'd use the OS that came with the car.

bobbob1016 says:

It basically means I'd be paying (quite a lot of money for) a product that doesn't work to it's fullest* if I decide to use another phone brand. And, I'd technically be contributing to Apple's "Look, we sold 'n' many iOS in the car!" which I don't want to contribute to if I don't use it. Yes, it's petty, but really, it's my choice to vote with my wallet and not support what I don't like.

*There is no technical reason that an Android/BB/WP device can't do the same things, it's just a grab at keeping market share.

kevinbhayes says:

There's no technical reason that Android/BB/WP can't make a phone as nice as an iPhone, but they haven't yet; in my opinion, anyway. Given Android's reputation for malware and Google's reputation for collecting data, I wouldn't want an Android solution anywhere near my car. And BB is already making one for Ford - we'll see how that goes. WP? Windows, in my car - well, Ford just dumped Sync for BB's solution, so it's not a good indication how well MS can make a car solution.

bobbob1016 says:

So we're making this a F.U.D. thread now, are we? If one actually *buys* apps (from Google) on GooglePlay the malware thing is invalid. At least I don't have to worry about my SSL on *all* my devices. Can you prove that Apple isn't collecting data? I mean with hard evidence? Source code? Google says they are up front, and Android actually has apps that allow me to stop apps from getting data, see XPrivacy.

Also, I see you didn't actually read my comment, as I said that I didn't want a solution that is tied to *anyone*. There is no reason that they can't come together, and have a standard. As in one thing that iOS/Android/BB/WP can all connect to.

Edited to clean up the wording

Edit edit: Apple is tracking you http://www.tuaw.com/2010/07/08/iads-uses-itunes-history-location-informa...

khehl says:

BB's solution is what Apple is using too by using QNX as the under layer of CarPlay.

Security wise: People forgot about Androids security flaws and now it's all on Apple. Apple is the least secure phone right now which just got brought to the media after 2 years of Apple knowing it and not doing anything. Almost anyone with something between there ears can take all the information off your iPhone when you go to a local Starbucks using their wifi or any wifi for that matter. But that's an example on just 1 of the security loop holes in the iPhone but there are many and now it's most out in the open.

Most likely this will just be an option. Apple does have to work on their layer and give people a choice to not use Apple's Maps which is frowned upon in many countries and considered fatal. Apple maps was banned in Australia for causing deaths back in 2012 not sure about now.

bobbob1016 says:

Well, according to http://www.imore.com/about-all-those-carplay-runs-qnx-stories they don't use QNX.

"People forgot about Android's security flaws"... No one forgets security flaws, even less so virus writers. If there were flaws, there'd be malware you could get by just visiting a website. There aren't. I wouldn't say Apple is the least secure phone though, the SSL thing is a one-off really.

I really think you're mistaken on some things. "Anyone with something between their ears can take all the information off your iPhone when you go to a local Starbucks"... That's with any device. Unless you're on a VPN, or have it setup with *working* SSL. They aren't able to go into your phone and get your pictures, they can get what your phone sends out.

We've said it's an option, but why should I pay $10k+ for something that has less features if I don't use a certain phone. Bluetooth works with 90% of phones.

Also "Apple maps was banned in Australia"... Again, I don't know where you are getting these types of things as they are only rumors. I found www.macorg.n et/police-warns-apple-maps-australia/‎ (broken as to not give them a plug) and in the google results, it says "Australian police doesn't recommend tourists to use Apple Maps in Australia due to inaccuracies." fixing the terrible grammar (which makes me suspect it's link bait to get people on to a fake site) it says "They don't *recommend*" no where does it say banned.

khehl says:

BlackBerry's Paul Leroux confirmed that CarPlay works alongside the QNX systems installed in many cars.
"Connectivity to smartphones and other mobile devices is a key strength of QNX Software Systems' platform for car infotainment systems, and many automakers and tier one automotive suppliers use our platform to implement smartphone/head-unit integration in their vehicles. We have a long-standing partnership with Apple to ensure high-quality connectivity with their devices, and this partnership extends to support for Apple CarPlay."

CarPlay, which requires an iPhone to function, can be likened to Apple's AirPlay, mirroring the iPhone's display and functionality to the existing in-car infotainment system.

Since CarPlay was announced yesterday, multiple manufacturers, including Volvo, Ferrari, and Mercedes-Benz have shown off vehicles with CarPlay integration. Other manufacturers, such as Honda, Jaguar, Hyundai, and more, are expected to launch vehicles with CarPlay support in 2014.

bobbob1016 says:

That's like saying since all cars run on roads, they're all made of concrete.

I don't know why the rest of this needed to be said, as it has been said in the original article, so I'm not going to address...

khehl says:

Think of it this way, why would QNX help Apple make Carplay if there is no benefit to them. A company isn't going to lend it's resources to it's competition. It is just common sense that QNX is under Carplay.

Would you give concrete to a company who paves the roads while not making any profit. But the company who paves the roads makes all the profit.

This is obvious that Apple is just using Mirrorlink to throw their OS onto the screen. (watch some videos, Qualcomm and QNX partnership is good to see too)

Google and Apple both stated that they were making car infotainment system for the exact same car manufactures and they just both happen to be big QNX partners. Do you think a car company is going to go through all the trouble to test out the reliability, stability and etc of iOS, Android and QNX. I don't think so.

When Carplay was announced it was just common sense that it would lay over QNX to make it easier on Apple. Just like Android/Jolla/Mozilla/Ubuntu coded using UNIX..

I'm going to continue on with that reliability/stability point that i mentioned above. In recent news everyone is figuring out how stable iOS really is. Before Apple Fans made fun of Android Fans for their stability. Those Apple Fans making fun of Android ran into a brick wall didn't they? No car is just going to beta test for something that is proven to be unstable and unreliable. They are going to go with a kernel that is reliable and stable.

I'm not sure why you are trying to fight me on this...

bobbob1016 says:

So, by your logic, Microsoft is partnered with Google, as I can run the Android development stuff on my PC. Apple would also have to partner with every app that uses their platform.

I never said that they don't use QNX, really, I didn't say any of that as I have no idea why you jumped on a thread about disliking that CarPlay is iOS only, with stuff saying it's running with (you said with) QNX.

My analogy with the concrete seems to have been missed here. QNX is the road, Carplay is the car. It runs on top of it. The road doesn't make the car, nor is it part of the car.

Actually, OSX/iOS are Unix based too, hence the reason I can SSH them. "Before Apple Fans made fun of Android Fans for their stability. Those Apple Fans making fun of Android ran into a brick wall didn't they?" I don't recall hearing too much about it either way, but I did see a thread about that recently, but not too many over all.

It seems you're saying that Carplay both incorporated and works on top of QNX.

I'm trying to clear up what seems to be confusion. But, I'm really not sure why you jumped on to a thread that doesn't mention QNX, and simply that I despise the fact that I may have to pay over $10k for a product that has less features if I don't have an iPhone, and will help Apple's numbers with "We have over N people who bought Carplay" as we both know they won't say how many people *use* it, just that it's in the car.

iSRS says:

Yes. That's right. Every car manufacturer is going to REQUIRE every car buyer to own an iPhone.

Seriously, what is life like for those who live in such black and white, hyperbole filled worlds?

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bobbob1016 says:

I guess my sarcasm detecter may be acting up, not sure if you're serious. This is the car manufacturers saying "Pay for our expensive car, and pay for a bunch of stuff you can't use unless you have an iPhone". They're not forcing me to get one, but they are forcing me to pay for stuff that only works if I have one. There is no reason, from a technical aspect, that an Android/BB/WP *can't* do these things, it's just that iOS in the car is just that, iOS only.

iGeneration4 says:

Lol "good afternoon Sir, you cannot look at this area if you don't have an iPhone." Lol

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bobbob1016 says:

Good afternoon Sir, would you like to pay a significant amount of money, roughly equal to a year's salary, for a product that has less features if you don't have a specific phone?

AndroidKernel says:

Almost all car manufacturers already have some optional support of iOS. I've not seen any cars that offer anything similar for Android or BB10. Are you going to blacklist all cars newer than 2005?

bobbob1016 says:

They don't mention it, as I think they want people to assume not. My 2013 Hyundai came with a 30-pin connector to a USB port. I plugged in a standard MicroUSB instead, and bam, it reads my Androids. Haven't tried my Z10 or Lumia as of yet, but these are still a moot point, as I use Spotify, and most cars can't read that, even on my 5C.

Rowanova says:

My vehicle are purpose purchases. Work related. So this would not be a deal maker , nor a deal breaker. It would be nice to have, and I think could be fun, but I'd consider it a minor feature.

SockRolid says:

"BMW, Ford, GM, Honda ... have all pledged support for CarPlay."

Glad to hear that BMW is on board. Their iDrive system is awkward at best, with waaaaay too much drilling-down through menus. But no, even if BMW were not signed up to support CarPlay it still wouldn't affect my next car purchase. (Hint: it'll be a BMW, and the model name starts with an "M".)

Ron Miller 85763 says:

It would definitely affect my decision ... I would love to have CarPlay in my car. However, my worry is that the car companies will go into it hesitantly, charge way too much for it, and then kill it down the road when it proves unpopular. For this to really catch on, it can't cost too much extra. I personally would pay a bit extra for CarPlay, although not a lot as I am actually pretty happy using my iPhone with a car mount.

phat7deuce says:

I just bought a car and had this on my mind, knowing it was coming. The nerdy, gadgety side of me would love to have it, integration can be a really cool thing, it isn't enough to drive a decision.

Like another poster, I have a ProClip mounted (right next to where it would be CarPlay-ing anyway). I wouldn't mind having a "CarPlay" mode, however...a switch to simplify and strip down the interface (similar to the shots we've seen so far - larger icons, text, contrast), with perhaps a one-touch button or listening-mode for Siri...

JNGold says:

The availability of CarPlay "may" influence my decision to lease/buy a given model of car. If two cars are in my price range, relatively equal in features and "want factor" one car offers an option to have Carplay and the other doesn't then my decision could be swayed. It's going to be interesting to see how flexible the manufacturers are in offering OS choices, especially as they are given multiple vendors (now Apple and Google) to select from.

William Beem says:

I am an old fart and I agree that drivers should pay attention to the road. That said, this is a feature I will consider whenever I get around to buying a new car. It's not like I'm going to buy something with a lousy engine or transmission just because it has CarPlay. All other things being relatively equal, I'd add this to the list of features to consider (unless the car is just butt-ugly).

It's not that I want to use them while driving, but having a consistent interface makes it easier to get things configured in Park before I start driving, and that's a "nice to have" feature.

iSRS says:

Not sure why those who ask if this is a joke or not feel that way. It clearly is a deciding factor, one both Apple and their automotive partners feel will be a distinction. If the auto makers didn't think there was value, this many would not already be on board. They would take a "wait and see" approach.

Will CarPlay be a make or break deal for you?

Tough for me to say make or break. But since the two brands I buy (Honda/Ford) are both on the list? Likely will only have to worry about if it is on the model I want. Since I tend to buy 7-8 passenger SUVs (Pilot/Explorer)? And not the entry level trim? Guessing I won't have to worry about it being available when my lease is up in spring 2016.

Are you as tired of waiting for this as I am?

Abso-freakin-loutly.

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randall2580 says:

I have a different perspective as I am in the car a lot more than the average person.

I have been begging for an in car system that works well and allows me to effectively use the phone with my voice. No one really produces one that lives up to the hype.

I think if this system would work as an other Apple product, it could have a affect on my car buying decision. I have doubts based on what is out there now as to how effective this will be in the end.

Derrick4Real says:

Not likely. I pick the car I want first. The "radio" will be a less important concern.

Becjr says:

Nope.

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Rednail says:

As most car systems totally suck I'd be more than happy to have iOS in the Car, but would it change my decision on which car? Nope. Currently looking at the new Mazda 3 which isn't in the list. But they do say the unit is upgradable. So time will tell.

SockRolid says:

"As most car systems totally suck..."

Amen. And enjoy the "3"!

iPandorum says:

If it's in a American made or a Hyundai then yes I won't buy it bc of the car. Hopefully something like a BMW

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iDisturbia says:

I love cars. Very Much!

With that said, if my next dream car (unknown as of this writing!) comes with any android crap, then I won't buy it.

Don't believe me? Just ask the sales guy who tried so hard to sell me a samsung TV .... I left the store with a SONY! A little more expensive and a few HDMI and other ports less than samsung ... but don't care! LMAO

khehl says:

Sony and Samsung have android phones... Just thought I'd clarify

AlanAudio says:

When looking for a car, one of the tests I perform is to go to the showroom with my iPhone and get the dealer to demonstrate just how effectively the car's entertainment system syncs with my iPhone. Alternatively if a car is especially interesting and no loan car is available, I will hire one for the weekend and give it a thorough test.

Most integrate with iPhones tolerably well, some are dreadful and a few integrate impressively. Obviously poor integration would effectively delete that car from my list. Reasonably good integration would keep it on the list, while excellent integration would be a very significant plus factor and would raise that model well up the list.

While I would certainly want CarPlay if it were available and would be prepared to pay extra for it, there might well be alternative solutions that offer good iPhone integration, so they would be considered on their merits.

The problem I see is that car manufacturers move slowly and by the time they adopt a technology, it has become dated technology before it even gets into the showroom. Much of what's going to change from now on is more to do with software rather than hardware, so manufacturers need to adopt protocols which can be upgraded over the ten years or so that the car can be expected to last.

StupidFatHobbit says:

My big hope with CarPlay would be that I could buy a car and get yearly updates (via Apple) to the infotainment system. Just based on that hope alone I would consider CarPlay a big plus in my car buying decision. Might not work out, but at least there's a chance.

jrod986 says:

Anyone who's ever had an in-dash navi system go bonkers on them would say no.

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paulmeyers42 says:

Definitely a factor for me. I actually use siri a LOT in the car for music, podcasts, maps and dictating messages. This sort of integration is brilliant and is one of those things that would make everyday driving more enjoyable.

Alan Freeman1 says:

my toyota does quite a bit of this already.

AndroidKernel says:

Yes, it will. I'm fed up with people trying to put a PC in my car. My next car will be a 1966 Mustang convertible with four on the floor, and an AM radio which I'll never use.

The iPod was revolutionary in that it disconnected my digital music collection from my Mac, and my pile of CDs in the living room. But I don't understand the need to inject that into every last second of my life. There's a mountain of difference between "can" and "should". My washing machine separated my ability to have clean clothes from the need to sit at the side of a river and scrub my shirts by hand, but that doesn't mean I want a washing machine in my living room, in my car, and strapped to my arm when I go jogging.

Erod773 says:

I love my Apple Eco System, I use Siri in the car a lot. Because I will be in the market for a car next year, I will probably shell out the money for iOS in the car. But, if I wasn't thinking of making an auto purchase I wouldn't upgrade.

Highrisedrifter says:

Whilst I love Apple, this news certainly won't influence my decision when I replace my current car with a newer version of the same vehicle. My car is my childhood dream and I doubt I will ever swap away from the marque now. So unless Apple make a deal with them, I don't see me ever getting a car with Carplay.

aardman says:

There is a significant segment in the car-buying population that will choose a car based on the tech gadgetry it offers. For this demographic, which skews towards the more youthful end, tech-craziness is what car-craziness was for us older folk. A car manufacturer, if it does not want to lose the next generation of customers the way the Detroit big three did in the 80s, better be on the leading edge in onboard gadgetry.

devonair says:

I'm yet another vote for "give me a good aftermarket option". Sure, if I was in the market for a new car I would love to see this built in, but it wouldn't be a deciding factor. But I'm happy with my current car, and would currently want an option to add this to what I have. Granted, I have a pretty decent setup that talks well with my iPhone over Bluetooth as is... So it's not really a deal breaker either way. *shrug*

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lxelite says:

First off, I only buy luxury cars, my brand of choice, Audi. Carplay isn't about improving your phone experience. Do you pay for navigation on your car, then Carplay is a cheaper alternative. Do you listen to your iPhone music in the car through any interface, then Carplay is a cheaper alternative. Do you text and drive, then Carplay will probably save your from further detrimental situations. That being said, it will certainly decide my next car, not because its fun... But because I will save money i.e. $2500 navigation system interface... and it will work so much better for my day to day life.