Apple has rebranded iOS in the Car as the much more syllable-friendly “CarPlay”, and launched it in Geneva. This new version has a much different interface than that shown at WWDC, as can be seen on the CarPlay page on Apple’s website. Also of note: there are third-party apps which support CarPlay; it isn’t known yet whether third-party developers require a special agreement to enable CarPlay support.
Interacting with CarPlay can be done via buttons/knobs or directly by touch (if available). It’s important to note that CarPlay likely won’t replace the need for checking an expensive box on your car’s option list. The OEM still needs to provide the underlying hardware/interface, CarPlay simply leverages the display and communicates over Apple’s Lightning cable.
It also has the potential to fizzle out because Apple demands more control than their partners are comfortable with, like iAd, or their interests conflict too much with the partners’ interests without enough upside to the partners, like iTunes TV rentals.
The risk seems clear: Apple isn’t building the hardware in the cars. Color me skeptical that this is going to work smoothly. Also, no third-party app support — yet. UPDATE: Actually, there are a handful of third-party apps — Beats Radio, iHeartRadio, Spotify, and Stitcher — but those are hand-picked partners. What I’m saying is there’s no way yet for any app in the App Store to present a CarPlay-specific interface.
Volvo confirmed that CarPlay’s connection and video mirroring functionality is based on a streaming H.264 video feed, prompting watchers to speculate that the feature is based on AirPlay, an Apple-designed media streaming technology.
In a rather surprising find earlier today, N4BB was able to confirm that CarPlay runs on QNX, an operating system the embattled Canadian smartphone maker BlackBerry acquired Harman International Industries back in 2010…
For all we know, CarPlay might just be an extension to the existing car entertainment systems, using something like VNC (or hopefully something more optimized for the use-case) to show the iOS screen on the existing infrastructure.
In that case, the car is running QNX because it has always been running QNX and because the car must be useable even if the user decides to switch to a different platform or loses their device.
In that scenario, saying CarPlay is running QNX is similar to saying your Thunderbolt display is running OSX when it’s connected to your Mac running OSX, or using an even closer analogy, similar to saying that your OS X machine is running linux because you’re using SSH connected to a linux box (or any other kind of remote desktop)
Previous reports had suggested that CarPlay would communicate with displays wirelessly using some version of Apple’s AirPlay protocol, but according to today’s release, the feature will only work with Lightning-equipped iPhones.
But how does CarPlay stack up to the current crop of infotainment systems? Here’s a breakdown of how Apple’s first real attempt at dashboard dominance competes with the best from the established automakers.
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