It seems like forever has passed since Apple first unveiled its CarPlay system to us earlier this year, but finally end users are getting their hands on it and that means reviews, walktthroughs and real world impressions, which is how the rest of us will figure out if it’s something we want to equip our car with – as it’s not a cheap upgrade.
This demo comes courtesy of FixDenver, an aftermarket iPhone, iPad and now CarPlay repair firm, which has the first demos out of the gate because it’s using a compatible Pioneer head unit. In this demonstration, we can see the staff member upgrade his Pioneer unit to the latest CarPlay firmware, bringing it to life before our very eyes.
After some fiddling, he manages to get the iPhone connected and CarPlay boots up for the first time, showing the home-screen that we’ve come to recognise so much from Apple’s demonstrations.
The second (third officially, but second that we’re going to show) gives us a demonstration of some of the applications; how they work, how to install new ones etc.
As you would expect from an Apple system, it’s all quite familiar if you’re used an iPhone before. Applications are listed neatly together and they’re operable by touching their corresponding icon on the display. However, since Apple is pushing for more hands free control, there’s also a lot of Siri interaction. For example, tapping the screen to bring up the call function will prompt Siri to ask you just who it is you would like to call. From there you can say someone’s name from your address book and it will dial away – though that isn’t shown in this demo.
Siri is also able to listen for song requests and many other functions, keeping your hands off the screen and hopefully on the wheel.
There’s several apps that come pre-installed with CarPlay, including Spotify and the Genius music application, which can help curate your music from a collection of already downloaded songs. There’s also plenty of Podcast options too, for those that like to listen to people talk on a long drive and for navigational purpose.
For navigational purposes, you can use Apple maps – and it works much better than it did when first released – which gives you a constantly updating display on the screen, as well as turn by turn instructions and vocal commands if needed.
Bear in mind of course, that you will need one of the newer iPhones in order to operate most of these features.