The latest battleground that Apple and Google are facing off over is in-car entertainment. They’re both coming out with high-end information and media viewing devices, designed to fit into your vehicle and understandably, many manufacturers have been announcing support for one, the other or both, in short order. However to date, not much has been heard from VW and it looks like consumers aren’t going to hear much else for a while, as though VW has pledged to put Apple’s CarPlay in some of its vehicles, they won’t be showing up until 2016.
CarPlay is designed to turn your vehicle into something more akin to your smartphone than a traditional head unit. Hooking up to your iphone to give it added processing power, CarPlay offers features like navigation and music playing right off the bat, but also a bunch of applications to allow for more advanced features, most of which will only come to light once developers get their hands on Apple’s SDK.
Beyond that though, Apple’s Siri personal assistant will be a major component, offering voice to text conversions and taking commands to the software by voice, so you won’t need to take your hands off the wheel – the idea, is it will make cars far more connected and functional, while also making them safer. Google’s Android Auto does many of the same things, replacing Apple’s systems with its own, but it seems that for now VW is going Apple only with its choice.
According to 9to5Mac, which doesn’t have anything in the way of an official announcement, though it suggests that that could be coming in the next few months, sources close to the two companies have suggested that it’s a done deal.
It’s not wholly surprising that the two are working together though, even if it is taking a while for either company to admit it. VW was one of the first companies to push for integrating iPods and other MP3 players in vehicles, making them much more versatile than the CD playing dinosaurs they’d been for so long.
Apple launched CarPlay officially earlier this to coincide with the debut of iOS 7.1, though updates to both are expected over the next year or so as more vehicle manufacturers announce implementation. Chances are the first vehicles to make use of CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto, will be those that upgrade them after purchasing. Since head unit manufacturers like Pioneer and Kenwood are getting on board with the idea, aftermarket audio solutions are going to be a much quicker way to get yourself access to all of Apple’s new features, than it would be to wait until a brand new vehicle comes equipped with it.
However the solutions aren’t cheap, with Apple’s CarPlay systems through Pioneer costing anywhere from£500 to £1,000 without the installation costs. You’ll also need to have a vehicle with room for the larger than usual head unit, or pay for extra interior bodywork to have it mounted safely.