Last year, Apple announced “iOS in the Car,” a new technology that would bring iPhone-like features to vehicle displays. Now the company has rebranded iOS in the Car as “CarPlay” and is demonstrating it in Volvo, Ferrari and Mercedes-Benz vehicles at the Geneva auto show. BMW, Ford, GM, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover, Kia, Mitsubishi, Nissan, PSA Peugeot Citroën, Subaru, Suzuki and Toyota have also signed on to produce vehicles that use CarPlay.
Apple’s CarPlay is designed to work with a user’s iPhone. It makes Siri and many iPhone apps, including navigation and music apps, available through the dashboard infotainment system. At this point, it isn’t clear how—or if—developers will be able to get their apps included. CNET writes, “From what I gathered at the show, Apple will be the gatekeeper for which apps it will let into the CarPlay ecosystem, although I imagine the company will listen to any objections or requests from automakers. The apps supported are likely to be a tiny subset of those available in the iTunes app store, as Apple and automakers are going to be very sensitive to driver distraction issues.”
Notably, supporting CarPlay doesn’t mean a vehicle can’t also support competing technologies. For example, Mercedes-Benz plans to support both CarPlay and Google’s Android-based Open Automotive Alliance technology.