CarPlay Features – What It Does, How to Get It for Your iPhone, Supported Vehicles

Feature premieres with leading auto manufacturers at the Geneva Motor Show

By on March 3rd, 2014 08:16 GMT

Vehicles from Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz, and Volvo are premiering Apple’s all-new CarPlay feature to their drivers this week at the Geneva Motor Show. CarPlay gives iPhone users an intuitive way to make calls, use Maps, listen to music, and even access messages via a touch on the dashboard or Siri voice commands.

Formerly known as iOS in the Car, the all-new CarPlay is the most advanced type of smartphone integration with a vehicle available today. Well, technically it’ll be available later, when the first compatible cars roll out. But the product is finished and the Cupertino giant is demoing it as you are reading these lines (at the Geneva Motor Show).

Apple’s initial partners are Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz, and Volvo. All three are now demoing CarPlay to their drivers at the aforementioned show.

“Users can easily control CarPlay from the car’s native interface or just push-and-hold the voice control button on the steering wheel to activate Siri without distraction,” Apple says in its press release.

The idea is to let drivers focus on actually driving the car, “while also tapping into everything they want to do with their iPhone,” according to the Cupertino giant.

Siri

So what are the key benefits of CarPlay? Well, for one, you get Siri. Apple’s voice-powered personal assistant helps you access your contacts, make calls, return missed calls, listen to voicemails, read out emails and texts, or jot down a reply and whisk it away to whoever you want. Makes one realize that SF movies from the ‘80s were really not that farfetched.

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Maps

Since CarPlay uses Siri to let you know everything that’s going on around you, it’s only logical that the assistant will also integrate with Maps to give you spoken turn-by-turn directions, traffic conditions, ETA, and more.

It even anticipates destinations based on recent trips via contacts, emails, or texts, and provides routing instructions, according to the iPhone maker.

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Music

According to Apple’s press release, “CarPlay gives drivers access to all of their music, podcasts, audiobooks and iTunes Radio with easy navigation through listening choices from the car’s built-in controls or simply by asking Siri to pull up what you’d like to hear.”

If you’re a fan of Spotify and iHeartRadio, you’ll be glad to know these two are officially integrated and supported as part of the CarPlay update.

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Availability

Apple says “CarPlay is available as an update to iOS 7 and works with Lightning-enabled iPhones, including iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c and iPhone 5.” However, the company’s use of present tense may not be accurate here, as the feature isn’t currently available for download just yet. But, according to the official announcement, “CarPlay will be available in select cars shipping in 2014.”

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In addition to Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz, and Volvo, CarPlay will be on select 2014 models from BMW Group, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover, Kia Motors, Mitsubishi Motors, Nissan, Peugeot/Citroën, Subaru, Suzuki and Toyota.

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