Bid Adieu To Distracted Driving With Apple Carplay

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Announced in March 2014 at the Geneva International Motor Show, Apple CarPlay allows safe usage of iPhone while driving through built-in display of your car. Designed for a hands-free experience, CarPlay allows drivers to make calls, return missed calls, send and read messages, get directions using Apple Maps and listen to music with just a voice command or a touch on the car’s built-in display.

The CarPlay system supports three forms of interface:

Voice: Siri voice control, which can be accessed through the voice control button on the steering wheel. Once activated, it functions just like in iOS.

Touch: If your vehicle has a touchscreen display unit, you can use it to control CarPlay.

Knobs and Controls: All the knobs, dials or buttons in your car that can control your vehicle’s display units can also control CarPlay.

Available as an update to iOS 7, Apple CarPlay works with Lightning-enabled iPhones (iPhone 5 and later models). To use CarPlay, apart from iPhone, you need a vehicle with built-in infotainment unit supporting CarPlay. You can setup CarPlay easily in your vehicle by just plugging your iPhone into your car’s display unit. Once the car detects the iPhone, it automatically pops up the CarPlay icon and you are ready to go.

While Ferrari was the first to feature a fully functioning version of CarPlay on a Ferrari FF, other car manufacturers like Volkswagen, Honda, and Chevrolet have announced that they will release multiple CarPlay-equipped vehicles in 2016. General Motors announced that nearly its entire 2016 model lineup will support CarPlay. Porsche, too, on 6 October 2015 announced that its forthcoming 2017 Porsche 911 Carrera and Carrera S will support Apple’s CarPlay system.

 Hot or Not?

What’s Hot: As the interface is iPhone-like, using CarPlay is quite easy and straightforward. Undoubtedly, Siri is CarPlay’s show stealer. Siri’s ability to comprehend and respond to questions and command is better than many current in-car voice recognition systems. Using aftermarket systems from Alpine, Kenwood and Pioneer you can add CarPlay to your current car. Stellar Point: To overrule any attempts by driver to use the smartphone while driving, the CarPlay system locks the iPhone’s screen as soon as the phone is connected.

What’s Not: CarPlay system currently does not support wireless and Bluetooth connection and works only when an iPhone is connected using a Lightning cable. In case there is an issue with Internet connectivity, Siri becomes slow in responding. App offering is limited with select applications (Audio Books, Spotify and iHeartRadio among others). CarPlay only supports Apple Maps (not Google Maps). 8 of 10 users mentioned to us that traffic information in Apple Maps is sometimes not as current as Google’s. CarPlay can only handle standard text messages or iMessages as it does not support any third party messaging apps.

The Bottomline:

For those who spend a lot of time behind wheels, CarPlay can come in quite handy as you can make important calls and read and answer messages while driving. At Greyhound Research, we believe CarPlay’s sophisticated Siri voice control system and predictive technology (it can predict where you most likely want to go using addresses from your email, messages, contacts and calendars) definitely helps drivers enjoy iPhone experience while focusing on the road. Having said that, Apple will still need to invest muscle into Siri’s voice control, especially for drivers who don’t have a native english accent.

Would you want to invest in a car infotainment system like this? Leave us a line (or two) to let us know.

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About The Author: Sanchit Vir Gogia is the Chief Analyst & CEO of Greyhound Research, an independent Digital Transformation Research & Advisory firm. He also serves as Chief Futurist, Founder & CEO of Greyhound Knowledge Group. To read more about him, click here.

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