Teslas could get new iPhone connectivity, but not the one you want

Tesla Model 3 Interior
Tesla Model 3 Interior (Image credit: Tesla)

What you need to know

  • Tesla CEO Elon Musk says he will speak to his engineers about the possibility of adding AirPlay support to cars.
  • There is no sign that CarPlay support will come to Tesla vehicles.
  • AirPlay would allow for lossless audio streaming.

Tesla electric cars could add support for Apple AirPlay, allowing people to more easily stream audio and potentially video from their iPhones. But CEO Elon Musk remains steadfast in his refusal to discuss adding the feature everyone really wants — CarPlay support.

The new AirPay admission came after Musk replied to one Tesla car owner to say that he would speak with Tesla audio engineers about the possibility of adding support for AirPlay. Musk says that the sound system built into the new Model S and Model X is "incredible" but one owner wants Apple to give them a better way to stream music to it than the current Bluetooth.

The speaker system in Teslas are so good, but we are limited by the quality of Bluetooth. Could we have AirPlay added? It's adds the ability for lossless streaming. The hardware necessary is already there.

Musk responded, as he is wont to do on Twitter, to say that he would have a word with his team — although there is no guarantee that future AirPlay support will be added, of course.

Unfortunately, there is still no indication that Musk is at all keen about adding another Apple technology in the form of CarPlay. The large display that Tesla electric vehicles have would be perfect for projecting an iPhone display onto, but so far, no dice.

Adding AirPlay support to Tesla cars would theoretically allow for lossless audio streaming, although it's a matter for debate whether the speakers inside the cars would make for an experience that would make such a thing worthwhile.

Apple's AirPlay and CarPlay offerings are some of the best iPhone features around, especially the latter. It gives people a way out of the normally poor in-car systems that carmakers force upon drivers while opening up the possibility of using third-party navigation apps as well.

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.