Apple today announced that it has rebranded its iOS for Car as CarPlay and that its automaker partners will begin rolling out the system in their in-dash systems in new cars starting this year. CarPlay lets iPhone users access their phone-based content and online services from compatible automobiles using voice and touch-based controls.
Apple announced iOS for Car at a developer event in mid-2013 and said at the time that it would deliver the system via a wide range of automakers starting in 2014. Today the firm said that Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo would premiere the system in new cars at the Geneva International Motor Show. Other automakers will follow throughout the year.
"CarPlay has been designed from the ground up to provide drivers with an incredible experience using their iPhone in the car," Apple vice president Greg Joswiak said in a prepared statement. "iPhone users always want their content at their fingertips and CarPlay lets drivers use their iPhone in the car with minimized distraction. We have an amazing lineup of auto partners rolling out CarPlay, and we're thrilled it will make its debut this week in Geneva."
CarPlay integrates with iPhone-based contacts, phone and voice mail capabilities, and lets you use Siri voice control for an "eye-free experience," so that drivers can keep their eyes on the road. It works with Apple Maps on the iPhone to "anticipate destinations based on recent trips via contacts, emails or texts, and provides routing instructions, traffic conditions and ETA." And it of course integrates with iPhone entertainment services such as iTunes, Podcasts, and iTunes Radio, as well as "select" third party apps like Beats Radio, iHeartRadio, Spotify and Stitcher.
While Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo are showing off CarPlay this week, many other automakers are on board too. Last year, Apple announced that BMW, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover, Kia, Mitsubishi, Nissan, PSA Peugeot Citroën, Subaru, Suzuki and Toyota have all signed on too. To date, most automobiles already ship with some form of iPhone integration, whether its basic Bluetooth connectivity or iOS-specific connections.
CarPlay requires a Lightning-connected iPhone running iOS 7—there's no upgrade like a forced upgrade—so it's limited to iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c and iPhone 5 only. You can find out more at Apple's CarPlay web site.