Who needs CarPlay and Siri? Tesla is reportedly working on its own in-car voice assistant instead

Tesla Model 3
(Image credit: Tesla)

If you're a Tesla EV owner who also happens to own an iPhone you're likely already very aware that there is no Apple CarPlay support for you or your vehicle. CEO Elon Musk has so far refused to add the feature, and he doesn't seem more willing to add Android Auto for that matter, either. And a new revelation suggests that is unlikely to change any time soon.

The lack of CarPlay support isn't as keenly felt by Tesla drivers as you might think thanks to support for Tesla-built apps for things like Apple Music. But no CarPlay also means no Siri, leaving Tesla owners to stab at their (admittedly huge) in-car screens with their fingers instead. But that could be about to change.

According to code found in a new Tesla software update the company might be readying its own in-car assistant similar to Siri. But as Apple has conclusively proven, making a digital assistant is one thing. Making one that works well is something else entirely.

"Hey Tesla"

While Tesla is yet to confirm the assistant, Electrek reports that one intrepid code-diver has already found references to a "Tesla voice assistant," although it's unclear if that is the way it will be marketed.

Details are sparse at the moment, but the code suggests that a wakeword will be used which means the assistant will be listening at all times, much like a HomePod. That may not be well-received news by everyone, but it does mean that drivers won't have to press a button to activate the assistant which is safer for obvious reasons.

A launch timescale for the new assistant is unknown as well, but given the company's track record, there's no guarantee that any announced release date will be met anyway. For now, Tesla drivers will just have to wait — but maybe don't hold your breath while you're doing it.

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Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.