Apple to Enhance CarPlay With Deep Integration Into Dashboard and Other Vehicle Displays

By Jonathan Spira on 8 June 2022
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The current version of Apple CarPlay on the VW Atlas Cross Sport

Apple, which first introduced its now ubiquitous CarPlay infotainment system in 2014, announced a number of significant updates at its 2022 World Wide Developers Conference, currently underway in Cupertino, California.

The big news is what Apple termed its “next generation” CarPlay interface, for which the company offered a “sneak peek” in the keynote address of the event.

The new version of CarPlay, which could start to appear in vehicles by the end of 2023, offers deeper integration with a vehicle’s hardware and allows CarPlay to control display info across multiple screens.

CarPlay next generation would become an interface to almost the entire automobile, no longer simply mirroring infotainment apps, such as music and navigation, as it does today.

The interface would allow the user to adjust climate control systems, turn on (or off) a heated, or cooled, seat, and tune the car’s radio.  Apple said that the software would effectively take over an auto’s entire instrument cluster, displaying speed, fuel and battery levels, and tachometer in a highly-unified display.  It would continue to offer access to apps such as Apple Maps, Google Maps, Apple Music, and other infotainment offerings as well.

The display would be extremely user customizable, Apple said.

In the course of the keynote, Apple, showed off iPhone-like widget support for apps such as Weather, Calendar, and Home, all accessible from the dashboard.  The system would adapt to different screen sizes depending on the vehicle, similar to how Apple currently manages multiple screens, albeit with far less information being displayed.

The Cupertino-based company said it would share more information on the reworked CarPlay offering “in the future” and announce compatible vehicles in late 2023.

Apple also said that a number of manufacturers including Acura, Audi, Ford, Honda, Infiniti, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lincoln, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Polestar, Porsche, Renault, and Volvo plan to support its “new vision of CarPlay.”

The update would also give Apple’s intelligent assistant, Siri, more control allowing vehicles to have an improved voice interface to many features and functions.

At launch, CarPlay only had access to the vehicle’s central information display, or CID, typically located in the section of the center stack that is still part of the dashboard, in contrast the fairly standard user experience that a vehicle manufacturer’s navigation system would offer, namely turn-by-turn directions (also known as a maneuver instruction card or navigation arrows) and information on the current music source including album art in the instrument cluster that appear directly in the driver’s field of vision.

The current version of CarPlay, which is only supported in a handful of vehicles, supports multiple screens and allows CarPlay navigation information including turn-by-turn directions, arrival time, and the distance remaining, to be displayed in the instrument cluster.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)