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CarPlay News

Apple CarPlay and the UK closing the “Candy Crush” Distracted Driving Loophole

There is no universal federal law related to handheld devices and driving in the United States. Twenty-two states outlaw the use of handheld devices altogether (Virginia’s ban goes into effect on January 1, 2021). Several other states only ban handheld devices for new drivers and those under the age of 17. School bus drivers are banned from using handheld devices in 19 states.

Seven more states prohibits local governments from enacting independent laws related to handheld devices. The New Hampshire Supreme Court, in the case of State vs. Belleville (2014) upheld a seven-year conviction for a man who crossed into a center lane while texting, causing an accident and paralysis to a young passenger. Based on the foregoing, it’s best to simply not text and/or talk while driving to avoid potential issues.

Missing a call won’t kill you – an accident quite possibly could

Roads Safety Minister David Jamieson

The United Kingdom, on the other hand, does in fact have nationwide statutes related to driving with handheld devices. Parliament first outlawed distracted driving in 2003. It was after Roads Safety Minister David Jamieson famously said, “Missing a call won’t kill you – an accident quite possibly could.” Penalties for violating the range from fines to revocation of your driver’s license.

The verbiage of the law, however, has caused confusion and clarification by the UK government.

Please, don’t text while driving. Apple CarPlay will do everything you need it to do, including transcribe your voice to text, and the reverse.

The “Candy Crush Loophole”

Ramsey Barreto was driving when he witnessed a car accident in Ruislip on August 19, 2017. He recorded the scene on his phone while driving past slowly. A police officer spotted him filming and issued a citation. The lower courts upheld the decision by police to issue the citation. But an appellate court overturned the ruling.

The law specifically states that driving while using a device that “performs an interactive communication” is illegal. Interactive was interpreted as a two-way communication, whether it be text messaging, voice calls, or emailing. Thus taking pictures, filming video and even playing video games is not illegal pursuant to the language of the law. The appellate court judges criticized lawmakers in their decision for not updating the law in accordance with technological advances.

The law became somewhat of a running joke in the UK because driver were fined for talking and texting, but could drive while playing Candy Crush. That is the origin of the loophole’s name. Regulators closed the loophole this month by changing the language of the law. It now prohibits picking up a mobile device at all while driving. The change goes into effect on January 1, 2021.

Apple CarPlay to the rescue

U.K. drivers can use hands free devices under the new law. U.S. drivers had already been doing this for quite some time. A 2018 survey by market research firm Strategic Analytics found that 34% of U.S. drivers for all media in their cars, including phone calls and texting. Researched posited that CarPlay is so popular because the user interface is simpler than the system installed by auto manufacturers.

Apple CarPlay is popular because it enhances the overall driving experience. But it also saves lives by preventing distracted driving. The BBC reported 637 deaths in British roads were caused by drivers using handheld devices in 2019. Distracting driving was cited in 8.5% of fatal car accidents in the United States in 2019, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Listen to your favorite music while driving. Talk to your significant others the whole way home from work. Just do it with the help of Siri and Apple CarPlay.

Categories
CarPlay Origins

4 Car Features predicted By Knight Rider’s K.I.T.T., executed by Apple CarPlay

The future is now for Generation X and Millennials. The previous grew up watching George and Judy Jetson talk to each other on video phones, imagining how crazy and impossible that is. Millennials watched the Simpsons predict everything from Donald Trump’s presidency, Disney purchasing 20th Century Fox, and even the Apple Watch.

Granted the Simpsons is the longest-running sitcom in U.S. history. Thus both Gen X and Millennials are familiar with it. They are also both familiar with another iconic show due to reboots.

Knight Rider is another long-running entertainment franchise. Generation X grew up watching the original television series starring David Hasselhoff from 1982-1986. The series was rebooted with a 17-episode series that aired on NBC from September 2008 to March 2009. The commonalities in the shows were readily apparent. The reboot main character was Mike Knight, the estranged son of the original Michael Knight played by Hasselhoff. The other glaring commonality was of course the car.

K.I.T.T. was the original Pontiac Firebird Trans Am. The acronym stood for Knight Industries Two Thousand. The reboot also featured a K.I.T.T. – Knight Industries Three Thousand. The latter was a 2008-09 Ford Shelby GT500KR. Whether you’re a fan of the original, the reboot or neither, K.I.T.T. predicted many technological advances about cars. Apple CarPlay is one of the primary drivers (no pun intended) of those very accurate predictions.

The following are five features of K.I.T.T. (original) that ultimately came true in future cars with Apple CarPlay.

He (and she) talks

Michael Knight was shocked and a little annoyed when K.I.T.T. spoke to him for the first time.

He and K.I.T.T. argued for a minute since Knight was not expecting his car to talk to him. But they ultimately became friends and partners in solving various crimes. Siri isn’t nearly as interactive as K.I.T.T. But she can do many of the same things K.I.T.T. could do, including telling you how to get to Silicon Valley and playing your favorite music.

Autonomous driving

It’s been speculated among car and technology enthusiasts that Apple has been working on a fully-electric, self-driving car since 2014. The project may only be the autonomous technology and not the vehicle itself. The general public won’t know until the project is complete due to tight secrecy.

Apple did in fact filed a patent application entitled “Guidance of Autonomous Vehicles in Destination Vicinities Using Intent Signals” in August 2019. The abstract described how voice commands will direct self-driving vehicles. It unclear, however, if the technology would be used in an Apple car or added as a feature in Apple CarPlay. K.I.T.T. had several “cruise modes” including “Pursuit mode.” Knight and K.I.T.T. worked together with computer-assisted driving and manual controls.

K.I.T.T. was also equipped with an alpha circuit that allowed it to become fully autonomous.

Telephone Comlink

Knight utilized the video display in K.I.T.T. to communicate with his boss, Devon Miles. The iOS 14 updated for CarPlay enable drivers to send voice message, text messages, and their ETA to anyone on their contact list.

Artificial intelligence

K.I.T.T. was able to learn human behavior by remembering patterns. It also had a dashboard entertainment system featuring music, movies and video games. CarPlay is capable of predicting your destination based on driving habits and select the fastest route for you. Siri can also play your favorite music on-demand.

Flying cars were also predicted in the Jetson. We don’t have those quite yet. But that tuned.

Categories
CarPlay News CarPlay Product Reviews

Wired to Wireless Apple CarPlay Dongles – too good to be true?

Few cars that support wireless Apple CarPlay as of 2020. Several 2019 and newer Audis, BMW 5 and 3 Series 2017 and newer; and Mercedes A-Class 2018 and newer are a few of those special vehicles. Wireless CarPlay was a new feature in iOS 9 that combined Bluetooth and Wi-Fi signals to connect your iPhone to your vehicle. Several 2021 Hondas, Hyundais and Fords will include wireless CarPlay. But it will still be far from a universal feature in vehicles.

Upgrading from wired to wireless CarPlay can be a bit tricky in some vehicles. Some upgrades require replacing the entire infotainment system to make it wireless compatible. That processes is similarly tedious to replacing heater cores in older vehicles. The most common and easy way to make your CarPlay wireless is through various adapter. The problem is that many claim to do something that they actually do not.

Compatibility issues are also a concern. Some adapters works better on certain vehicles, while others may not work at all or have too many bugs to be of any real use. All you can really do is read reviews based on your specific vehicle to determine which adapter is most likely to produce the best results.

Carlinkit 2.0 dongle

This product is currently sold out on Amazon as of publishing. It has 34% 5-star ratings versus 35% 2-star and 1-star ratings. Reviewers specifically noted that it did not work in Audis, Porches, Toyotas and Lexuses. Some cars it appears to work with include Honda Civic, Chevy Equinox, Chevy Volt, and Mercedes GLS450. Again these are reviews from Amazon, so take them with a grain of salt.

The adapter is easily to install. Simply plug it into your car USB port and pair it with your phone via Bluetooth. There is some latency with skipping tracks and volume control from the steering wheel. The adapter does receive firmware updates. Thus any issues you’re having could be resolved at any time. The price makes it worth the risk – around $115. So if it doesn’t work for your car, you’re not out a fortune.

iCarPlayDongle

There are several red flags about this one. The unit is not sold on Amazon or any other retailer based on our research. It is only sold on the company website. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. But it’s hard to gauge compatibility and functionality without independent reviews.

The site claims the dongle works with numerous cars. There are four different models of the dongle, with the Apple CarPlay one priced at $140. There are more red flagged with this one. The company does not list a phone number. It is also very vague about its location, saying it has warehouses in the USA, UK and UAE. But if you want to another option, this is it.

Cplay2air

This one has an advertisement video on Youtube. The red flags, however, jump right out from the beginning. The company website listed in the description is offline. The top comment is a dissatisfied customer who ordered the item and never received it. There is a very in-depth Reddit thread about the product that also throws up red flags.

Based on our reviews, wired to wireless adapters are a crapshoot at best and scams at worst. Buy them with caution.

Categories
CarPlay News

CarPlay features, efficiency improve with iOS 14 updates

Apple Carplay has come a long way since the Ferrari FF became the first automobile to fully integrate it in September of 2014. But before that CarPlay was a theoretical concept derived from the “iPod Out” feature on iOS 4. Early integrations of iPods and iPhones into cars in 2010 utilized choppy interfaces from varying manufacturers – most notably JVC and BMW. The latter teamed with Apple and started using “iPod Out” as part of a standardized interface. It ultimately led to Apple announcing the launch of CarPlay at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show.

The release of iOS 13 on September 19, 2019 bought several new features and enhancements to CarPlay. Most importantly, iOS 13 fixed many common issues that users frequently complained about. One of them was the inability to display multimedia and navigation data simultaneously on the dash display. A new Dashboard feature was introduced with iOS 13 that created a de-facto split-screen so directions and other content were both visible. Apple Maps got several upgrades, including a favorites menu, flight tracking and improved voice guidance.

iOS 14 was released in September 16, 2020. Social media users and professional reviewers weren’t necessarily impressed with the rollout. Many complained of battery issues, poor Wi-Fi connectivity and keyboard lags. Of course there were initial issues with practically all the new iOS roll outs due to thee rush by Apple to get as many users as possible downloading its latest operating system.

Meanwhile CarPlay was updated with several changes as a result of iOS 14.

What’s New With CarPlay?

The iOS 14 update did not bring any major new features or functionalities to CarPlay. But it definitely streamlined many functions, improved upon overall usability, and added aesthetic features as well. The most readily-noticeable difference is the addition of new wallpaper to the display. It’s still default color schemes provided by Apple; you cannot upload custom photos. However there are more choice with iOS 14.

The Share ETA feature can now be activated with Siri. This feature existed with iOS 13 as well. The difference is that you no longer have to use your hands. Siri does all the work. All you must do is tell Siri to Share ETA with one of your contacts. It automatically updates ETA’s when you encounter traffic or some other obstruction that slows or speeds up your route.

Siri is now able to send voice messages to your contacts as well. Simply tell Siri who you want the message delivered to, record it, and it’s automatically sent to the messaging app.

More iOS 14 updates for CarPlay

Previous versions of Carplay only allowed Apple Macs for navigation. iOS 14 allows Google Maps and Waze as navigational directories too. Apple Maps automatically shows charging station for specific electric vehicle – for those who have them. Siri itself also looks different on the display. The glowing icon is no longer the default when speaking to it.

Apple CarKey is also part of iOS 14. The idea is to eliminate key fobs so all you need in your pocket is an iPhone. CarKey is only available on certain devices, including, among others, Apple Watch Series 5, iPhone XR, iPhone 11 and iPhone Pro Max. The 2021 BMW 5 series is the first automobile to support CarKey. Apple said on its website that CarKey will also be available for iOS 13.

CarPlay wasn’t broke, don’t fix it

Many of the updates and improvements to CarPlay are negligible at best. It does support more apps now and is more customizable. It will take Apple the rest of 2020 to work out all the bugs due to the rushed release. But overall CarPlay is a better and more useful product than the iOS 13 iteration.

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Auto Manufacturers & CarPlay CarPlay News

2021 Honda Accord refresh includes Wireless Apple CarPlay

The Honda Accord was the ninth-most popular vehicle by sales in the United States in 2019, according to data compiled by Edmunds. Part of its popularity comes from the perception that Accords are American-made vehicle. Honda Accords were the first foreign vehicle to be manufactured on American soil. The Marysville (Ohio) Auto plant has been producing Accords since 1982 and will continue for the foreseeable future based on the company’s sustained investment in the plant. Accords, like many other Japanese vehicles, are also known for their longevity and reliability.

It’s virtually impossible to buy a late-model vehicle these days without some sort of infotainment system. Apple CarPlay is continually eating into the marketshare for automotive voice assistants. Embedded voice assistants by automakers still lead the pack, followed by Bluetooth smartphone assistants. But Apple CarPlay is fast-becoming the standard. It’s presence in vehicles grew to 26.7% in 2019, according to a report by Voicebot. Granted there are still many 2021 vehicles that will not support CarPlay. The 2021 Honda Accord has several new features, including new options for the mobile experience in your automobile.

The 2021 Honda Accord. Photo via Autoblog.com

Wireless CarPlay Support

One of the enhancement in the latest-model Accord is the 8-inch touchscreen that is now standard. These were previously available only on EX trim and above. The new standardized feature everyone is raving about is Apple Carplay. Integration is in all trims. But touring and EX-L trims also come with the new wireless Apple Carplay. Hybrid models also have wireless integration, according to the October 12 press release. Wireless charging integration is also available on 2021 Honda Accords.

Honda Accord wireless CarPlay
Honda Accord wireless CarPlay

CarPlay is dubbed “the ultimate copilot’ by Apple. It predicts your destination by utilizing address data from text messages, emails and calendars. Siri allows you to make calls, listen to voicemails and send text messages hands-free, making your drives safer and more efficient. You also have access to all your iPhone content. Just ask Siri to play your favorite song or tune into your favorite radio station.

More upgrades for 2021 Honda Accord

A wider touchscreen and integration of Apple CarPlay aren’t the only mid-cycle refresh changes to the tenth-generation Accord. There aren’t many physical differences at first glance from the 2020 to 2021 models. The front grille is a bit wider than its predecessor. LED beans are now part of the headlights, along with redesigned fog lights.

The new rear seat reminders can avoid tragedy by warning drivers of occupants in the backseat. They also notify the driver when/if someone unbuckles their seat belt. Another new safety feature is Low-Speed Braking Control. Touring-trim Accords apply the brakes automatically when the Honda Sensing system detects imminent collision when traveling 25 mph or slower. The Sport SE trim has a few new interior features, most notably leather upholstery.

One drawback with 2021 Hybrid touring trims appears to be lower gas mileage. Non-Touring Hybrids have a 48 mpg rating. touring Hybrids are rated 44 mpg. Honda representatives confirmed that the discrepancy is due to the 19-inch wheels and additional weight thereof on the Hybrid Touring trims.

Honda standardizing CarPlay across the board?

Accord isn’t the Honda vehicle that includes Apple CarPlay as a standard feature in 2021. The Honda Passport also comes with the new standard 8-inch touchscreen and CarPlay. The Honda Civic, like the Accord, has been equipped with CarPlay since 2016. The Ridgeline, CR-V and Pilot have also had CarPlay for several years. Will wireless Apple CarPlay become standard in all Honda models? Time will tell.