Bloomberg: Apple wants to expand CarPlay to control A/C, interact with car instruments, and more

Taycan Carplay Layout
Taycan Carplay Layout (Image credit: Ted Kritsonis / iMore)

What you need to know

  • Apple is reportedly working to extend CarPlay behind its current usage.
  • Future plans could see CarPlay control in-car A/C systems, link to instrument clusters, and more.

Apple is working to expand CarPlay's reach beyond playing music and showing maps, according to a new report. Instead, Apple wants CarPlay to be able to control things like in-car A/C while also being able to interact with dashboard systems and instrument clusters, too.

Bloomberg reports that controls for the car's radio and even its seat adjustments could one day be part of the CarPlay feature set, although it will all require carmakers to be on board with the changes.

The company is working on technology that would access functions like the climate-control system, speedometer, radio and seats, according to people with knowledge of the effort. The initiative, known as "IronHeart" internally, is still in its early stages and would require the cooperation of automakers.

The list of things CarPlay could one day interact with is long and varied, but the idea of an iPhone app being able to read a car's speed in real-time is something that could open the door to new safety features — or more invasive tracking, depending on which side of the fence you're on.

All of this is a further expansion of Apple's continued push towards taking stronger control of cars, even if plans to launch its own Apple Car have so far faltered.

As Bloomberg notes, while CarPlay has been around since 2014 and is now largely ubiquitous in new cars, this kind of re-think could prove a harder sell for carmakers who may fear giving up too much control of their vehicles.

IronHeart would represent Apple's strongest push into cars since CarPlay was released in 2014, but it may not be a hit with automakers. They could be reluctant to hand over control of key features to Apple. While CarPlay is now in more than 600 car models, other Apple initiatives launched in recent years have been slower to catch on with automakers.

However, the thought of carmakers being able to build their own apps that then run via CarPlay is an interesting one, although it would allow third-party developers to also do the same — depending on how plans pan out.

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.