Apple Reveals the Next-Gen Version of CarPlay, Which Takes Over a Vehicle's Entire Dashboard and Screens

Apple Reveals the Next-Gen Version of CarPlay, Which Takes Over a Vehicle's Entire Dashboard and Screens

Author: Eric Walz   

iPhone maker Apple Inc. kicked off its 2022 Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) on Monday with a flood of new announcements, including an all new version of Apple CarPlay that syncs an iPhone with a vehicle for safer and smarter driving. 

"CarPlay has fundamentally changed how people interact with their vehicles", said Emily Schubert, Senior Manager, Car Experience Engineering, during a presentation at Apple's nearly two hour long keynote where the company provided an overview of new products coming from the iPhone maker.

Apple's CarPlay allows customers to use their favorite apps in the vehicle with an easy-to-use user interface that mirrors the popular iPhone.

Apple's CarPlay is already available for over 98% of vehicles in the U.S., according to Apple. Since people really love their iPhones, Schubert cited Apple's market research and said that nearly 79% of drivers will only consider buying a vehicle if its compatible with CarPlay. Now using it in the car will become a much better experience.

"It's a must-have feature when shopping for a new vehicle", said Schubert.

Now that modern vehicles come with much larger screens, including a digital dashboard and center touchscreen display, Apple wanted to take advantage of this screen space that's currently unused by CarPlay, so the next-generation of CarPlay will do just that.

"There's an opportunity for iPhone to play a more important role", explained Schubert. She said that Apple has been working with automakers to integrate CarPlay into the bigger screens found in today's vehicles in order to reinvent the in-car experience across all of the driver's screens.

The new version is designed to provide the optimum content to all of the vehicle screens. For example, driving information such as navigation and vehicle gauges will be displayed on the dashboard screen, while infotainment content such as Apple Music will be shown on the center screen. The vehicle displays can render information both independently and simultaneously.

CarPlay supports deep integration with a vehicle's hardware, so drivers access vehicle functions such as the climate controls without ever having to leave the CarPlay interface. It will essentially take over a vehicle's standard displays when activated.

"The next generation of CarPlay powers your entire instrument cluster," said Schubert.

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Apple's next-gen CarPlay also supports widgets that are powered by a user's iPhone. The widgets add customizable content to a vehicle's screen, such as an outside air quality monitor, calendar app, world clock, to-do list, and many others. The widgets are rendered "to fit a vehicle's screen size perfectly" and display important information at a glance, according to Schubert.

CarPlay works by allowing an iPhone to securely communicate with a vehicle's hardware systems. Instead of a factory display(s), all of the graphics are changed to the Apple CarPlay interface. The iPhone uses real-time vehicle data, such as current speed, RPM's, fuel level, engine temperature and more.

Schubert says that the next generation of CarPlay will feel like its been made specifically for a particular make and model vehicle its running on.

Drivers will be able to select from various instrument cluster options and themes carefully crafted by Apple to offer an uncluttered and in an easy-to-read format. For example, Apple offers different color gauges and layouts for the speedometer that can be easily customized by the driver. 

Apple is working directly with the world's top automakers to bring the latest version of CarPlay to new models. Among them are Ford Motor Co, Nissan, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Polestar, Honda, Volvo and others.

Compatible vehicles for CarPlay will be announced later next year. Apple will also share more details and features of CarPlay before its official launch.

Eric Walz
Eric Walz
Originally hailing from New Jersey, Eric is a automotive & technology reporter covering the high-tech industry here in Silicon Valley. He has over 15 years of automotive experience and a bachelors degree in computer science. These skills, combined with technical writing and news reporting, allows him to fully understand and identify new and innovative technologies in the auto industry and beyond. He has worked at Uber on self-driving cars and as a technical writer, helping people to understand and work with technology.
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