What’s New in Apple CarPlay in iOS 14: Wallpaper, Camera Warnings, and EV Support

By Paul Riegler on 24 June 2020
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Apple CarPlay in a Jaguar F-Type SVC

Apple CarPlay has come a long way since its launch at the Geneva Motor Show in 2014.  Indeed, Apple, which at one point had designs on producing its own cars, has now almost fully penetrated the in-vehicle infotainment market: the Cupertino-based company says that CarPlay is now available on 97% of new automobiles sold in the United States and 80% elsewhere.

Virtually every car manufacturer supports it except for Tesla, which has thus far refused to add support. The list includes Acura, Aston Martin, Audi, BMW, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Citroën, Fiat, Ford, Honda, Jeep, Lincoln, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Opel, Peugeot, Porsche, Renault, Skoda, Toyota, VW, and Volvo.

CarPlay received a new user interface with iOS 13.  The new UI gives drivers a dual-pane dashboard view. The Task Switcher, introduced with iOS 10.3, remains on the far left, Apple Maps is on the left half of the screen, while the right-hand side is divided between upcoming turns, Siri suggestions, audio controls, phone controls, and calendar info. CarPlay also received support for wide-screen displays, and responsive and dynamically resizing Dashboard cards in iOS 13.4.

Apple CarPlay in iOS 13.4 on a the display of a 2020 Lexus NX 300

Apple is adding support for new wallpapers in CarPlay in iOS 14. The move is intended to help CarPlay better match the vehicle’s interior. 

Drivers of electric vehicles will benefit from new support for EVs in Apple Maps in iOS 14. The app will display charging locations along a route and make suggestions for charging locations when planning a route.  Apple plans deep integration with at least two automakers, BMW and Ford, so that the car’s current battery status is taken into account when planning a route.

Apple will widen the range of apps that can work in the CarPlay environment. It will add the ability for developers to offer EV charging, parking, and quick food ordering apps.  Although no developers have announced specific plans yet, there is virtually no limit as to what could be offered including an app that shows all available parking at your destination or allows you to order takeaway Chinese food at the push of an icon.

In addition, Apple Maps will, when in use in CarPlay, warn drivers of speed and red-light cameras along a route.

“Maps lets you know when you’re approaching speed cameras and red-light cameras along your route,” Apple said.  “You can also see where individual cameras are located on the map,” it added.

Finally, Siri is getting a makeover in CarPlay under iOS 14. When summoned by the driver in CarPlay, it will have a sleeker and more defined appearance and won’t take over the entire screen.

While Apple didn’t say if an incoming phone call will no longer take over the entire CarPlay screen, it’s likely that it will come in as a banner with controls, similar to how it will appear in iOS 14 on an iPhone.

Finally, a new feature that’s not part of CarPlay but that is certainly related is Apple CarKey. Apple wants to replace the car key, which has grown in size from just a key to a small intelligent device over the past 20 years, with a smart and shareable digital key that resides in the iPhone.  The feature will first be available on the 2021 BMW 5 Series, which will be released in July of this year.

 (Photo: Accura Media Group)