For some reason, automakers are convinced the future of your dashboard involves putting a touchscreen in it. This may not be an entirely bad idea, but it needs forethought, planning, and standardization. Or we could just say screw all that and have Apple and Google pick sides in a pointless feature wa-oh, that’s what we’re going with?
Hot on the heels of Google creating the Open Auto Alliance with Hyundai, Honda, GM, and Audi, Apple has revealed CarPlay, which is their cutesy term for iOS in your car, powered by your iPhone. Here’s what’s happening, according to CNET:
CarPlay can look at your calendar and e-mails to anticipate upcoming meetings and appointments, suggesting directions to the appropriate destinations. Similarly, Siri can read any incoming text messages and let you dictate a response. And, it wouldn’t be an iPhone experience without music, and you’ll be able to listen to music and podcasts plus Spotify and iHeartRadio.
Apparently, Apple is only letting those two streaming apps into their little automotive walled garden for now, because, well, this is Apple we’re talking about here. Apparently they’ve realized the only way to get you to use Apple Maps is to take away all your other options.
It gets better; apparently you’ll have to choose between Android and iOS in your car. Apple has so far announced models from Ferrari, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz, and Volvo with CarPlay coming this year, and apparently it expects to have this in pretty much every auto manufacturer you’ve heard of by next year’s models.
If I sound less than enthused, it’s for a fairly basic reason. Turning your car into a ridiculously expensive and polluting iPhone dock since CarPlay is useless without an iPhone, does neither drivers nor anyone else any favors. These systems need to be designed from the ground-up for cars, with safety in mind especially, to fully work. Anything else is useless or worse, actively dangerous.
Seriously, what does CarPlay actually do that most cars don’t already offer? It’d be one thing if you could hook up a diagnostic app to it, or use a suite of mapping apps. But really, this is no different than the crappy in-dash system you can already get; it’s just designed to show off that you have an iPhone. How is “Making you look like a tiresome douche from 2007″ a desirable feature?
But, hey, it helps drive up the sticker price, and that’s what’s important, right? Expect to have the iPhone dock feature pushed on you harder than ever starting later this year.