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CarPlay News Future of CarPlay

2020 CarPlay Changes

2020 CarPlay Changes were announced at the Apple WWDC 20202
An aerial view of Apple Park in 2019.
Credit: Arne Müseler / www.arne-mueseler.com / CC BY-SA 3.0 DE (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/de/deed.en)

2020 CarPlay changes out of the Apple WWDC 2020:

Apple held its annual WWDC June 22, 2020, meeting virtually via a streaming broadcast from Apples Cupertino, California Apple Park mothership.

See the video intro, featuring the opening keynote from Apple CEO Tim Cook, along with OS announcements for each Apple device, here.

The update to Apple CarPlay has generally described as “minor,” but some interesting new capabilities have been added to the app.

iOS 14 Changes

While not a CarPlay-specific update, the iOS 14 update for iPhone includes new electric vehicle routing. This enables drivers of electric vehicles to plan their trip routes according to where charging stations are available along the way.

Significant improvements to Siri have also been made, which can be helpful when you’re driving and need to find information using your voice while keeping your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel.

The biggest of the 2020 CarPlay changes is probably the new ability to unlock and start your car using your iPhone. We provide more details on this capability in another post.

CarPlay now has a new set of wallpapers to choose from, and it supports three new types of apps – parking, electric vehicle charging, and quick food ordering.

Compatible Devices

If you have an older iPhone, you will not be able to access these new features, as iOS 14 is compatible with newer devices, and that leaves out everything from iPhone 6 going back. The 7th generation iPod touch will run the system, as will 1st and 2nd gen iPhone SE, 6s and 6s Plus, 7 and 7 Plus, 8 and 8 Plus, X, XR, Xs and Xs Max, 11, 11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max.

Once things are back to a more normal state, you might want to visit the Apple Park visitor center. The address is 10600 N. Tantau Ave. in Cupertino, CA. Hours are typically 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

If you’d like a peek inside the circular Apple Park world HQ building itself, which has a circumference of nearly a mile, here’s a YouTube tour of the facility and its road to life from proposal through construction and completion.

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CarPlay Music & Podcasts CarPlay Navigation CarPlay News Future of CarPlay

Part 2: What’s New With the iOS 13 Apple CarPlay Update

See iOS 13 update details Part 1

iOS 13 offers some nice updates for your iPhone, but it’s also making Apple CarPlay better, too. After you get your iOS 13 update, you’ll notice some great extra features, like a brand-new dashboard and several new and improved apps.

CarPlay Dash

With the new CarPlay dashboard, you’ll notice the most useful information available to you right away. Now, you can see your map, navigation, and music availability all in one screen, making things easy to use. You can now change the song you’re listening to while viewing your next turn on one screen, meaning you’ll be able to keep your eyes on the road longer.

Apple Music

Apple Music just got a bit cooler with the new CarPlay update. You’ll notice that it has an all-new look and several familiar library tabs ready for your favorite tunes. You’ll be able to access the browse feature more easily, making it simple to hear your favorite tunes. You’ll be able to see things like recently added tracks and personalized mixes easily. Also, the “Now Playing” screen is just a tap away.

Navigation

Apple Maps also comes with a new look, and it’s quite an improvement. Apple Maps was basically rebuilt from the ground up so that the road details on the app were better. You’ll love the increase in detail you’ll see with Apple Maps. While the new version of Apple Maps is exclusive to users in the United States right now, once the update goes through a trial one, it will be made more widely available.

The improvements made to turn-by-turn directions will become obvious after you use the navigation a bit more. You’ll hear more natural Siri language, like “Turn right at the next light,” instead of “In 500 feet, turn left.” You’ll also be able to find things like food and gas stations more easily as you travel. Plus, you’ll be able to let your contacts know what your ETA is now when you travel.

Better Siri

Using Siri just got a little easier, too. We already mentioned that Siri’s turn-by-turn directions are better, but “Hey Siri” is now supported fully in CarPlay. So, Siri will work now with car manufacturer’s microphones without issue. So you won’t have to press a button before you talk to Siri.

One thing we did noticed is that Siri doesn’t always hear the driver right away if there is other background noise. However, if this becomes a real problem, you may just need to get a better microphone to cut back on the problem.

Your mileage may vary when it comes to using “Hey Siri,” however. I’ve found that Siri doesn’t always hear me over music and other background noise — but that could be down to the microphones in my car, rather than CarPlay.

The New Calendar App

Now you won’t need Siri to get to your calendar. CarPlay now has its own Calendar app, and it lets you see the day you have planned with one simple glance. The new Calendar app also makes it simple to get directions to your next destination. You can select the event you’re going to, and you’ll see an option to get navigation help to arrive safely.

Light Mode

The new light mode in CarPlay is also worth mentioning. While dark mode is the default, you can switch color schemes if you go into Settings.

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CarPlay Navigation CarPlay News Future of CarPlay

iOS 13 Brings New CarPlay Features!

Why do we report on iOS? Because it’s the “parent” of CarPlay; CarPlay runs under iOS, while iOS is the operating system software that runs your phone. When something changes/improves/breaks/gets fixed in iOS, it can affect CarPlay, thus our interest in iOS in general and iOS 13 in particular.

iOS 13 is likely to debut on September 18. As with all iOS releases, major and minor, it’s free to all iPhone owners.

Improved CarPlay Experience

That said, what this update boils down to for us CarPlay aficionados is CarPlay providing easier calendar viewing, route planning/navigation, searching, improved visuals designed to get info to your brain with as little effort as possible, as well as things like the new Junction View.

The All-New CarPlay Dashboard

Even more exciting, your CarPlay Dashboard comes with a new and improved look. The goal of this redesign is to make things easier for you while you drive. Your new CarPlay Dashboard allows you to do everything in one place including maps, adjusting the sound, and accessing Siri.

Once you get the new iOS 13 update, you’ll see a new look on your Dashboard. You’ll also notice a change in the way Maps works, and Maps works a bit differently with your dashboard. You’ll see the dashboard offer up some navigation information, a small screen of Maps, and a music player feature.

With the new iOS 13 update, you’ll still be able to use Siri Suggestions as well. However, how you access and use Siri will affect the way Siri responds, so Siri’s content could be different from user to user.

Customizing Your CarPlay Dashboard

You can also customize the way your CarPlay Dashboard works if you want something that’s easier for you. Here are the steps:

  • Go into the Settings menu.
  • Select general options.
  • You’ll see the CarPlay settings here. From here, you can add more options and take others out as you see fit

More Independence

CarPlay’s updates make the program more consistent because the amount of interruptions you might experience while driving have now been decreased. Before the new update, your iPhone would be connected to the dashboard, which could sometimes malfunction while driving if the iPhone was touched, so drivers needed to take the time to reconnect.

Now, thankfully, those days are long gone. The app functions separately on the car’s dashboard and you can see your iPhone mirroring it. So your passengers can use your iPhone and CarPlay will continue to function as normal as long as the phone remains plugged into your dashboard.

You also now have the choice to use Dark Mode if it’s easier for you to view. Dark Mode utilizes dark colors on the app’s menus, which makes things easier to view for some individuals. If you tend to experience eye strain often, then Dark Mode should really help you out.

If needed, Dark Mode is also available for the CarPlay app which makes use of dark colors for the app’s menus. This new setting is said to reduce eye strain from looking at a dark road and to the infotainment screen.

Maps

Maps is 100% brand-new! Redesigned, improved and better looking, like us writers at CPW.

You can also customize Maps UI with your favorite apps. You can see app shortcuts while you are looking at Maps, and also see a location history. While you are driving, you can even set Maps UI to send out ETA messages so your friends and contacts know where you are and when you might show up.

The Look — the look is brand-new, “Rebuilt from the ground up”. Yessss… not that we didn’t like the current Maps, how it draws roads and buildings.

So clean! The new Maps in iOS 13.

We like new graphics for the sake of cool new stuff. Sorry, but it’s true! Maps will have more realistic details for roads, beaches, parks, buildings, etc.

Whoa.

Junction View — In addition to, well, better intersection views, this feature is basically Maps telling you which lane to be in for turns or merges. Oh hell yea ❤️.

Junction View helps drivers eliminate wrong turns and directional misses by lining them up in the correct lane before they need to turn or enter an elevated road.

https://www.apple.com/ios/ios-13-preview/features/

But Wait! There’s More!

See iOS 13 update details Part 2

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Future of CarPlay

Does Phone Technology Move Too Fast for CarPlay?

And will CarPlay be compatible with future iPhones?

If you’re hooked on CarPlay, you might be wondering whether it’s here for the long term. Unlike a phone that you just replace when it becomes a bit too dated and clunky, a car is a long-term investment. And with the average car lasting 11 ½ years – the highest age in history – we’re keeping our cars longer than ever.

Of course, you probably won’t own the same car in 11 ½ years, but chances are that your next auto purchase – whether new or used – will have CarPlay.

With Apple CarPlay literally (via a lightening cable) and metaphorically tethering your phone and car together, you might wonder how your future clunker will handle future iterations of your iPhone or whatever gadget Apple will make in 11 ½ years.

And don’t think a lot can change in 12 years? Well, consider that CNET’s 2006 award for most innovative phone design went to the LG Chocolate KG800 (far left phone in the image above). Remember those times? With 128MB, you had enough space to hold about 20 terrible photos from its 1.3MP camera.

A lot can change in 12 years, and phones change faster than anything else.

Do I need to worry about future compatibility?

For CarPlay to work, you need two pieces of equipment: a CarPlay-compatible car, and a CarPlay-compatible iPhone.

The worry is that, in the future smartphone technology will move forward and become incompatible with your car’s technology – which we upgrade much less frequently. Unlike a phone, you can’t download an update for your car (at least, for most cars…).

For the most part, you’re stuck with what you’ve got. Right now, you might be having flashbacks of your SUV’s clunky early-2000s navigation software, thinking you’d hate to still lug that around. And you certainly don’t want to use that old BMW car phone above. Yikes.

But with CarPlay it’s different, and in a very good way.

While your car certainly needs to be CarPlay-compatible, it’s really just a conduit for your iPhone software. It’s a screen displaying a simplified version of your iPhone screen. When Apple pushes an update to your iPhone, CarPlay is also updated. You’re really only limited by the physical aspects of your own car – the dials, nobs, and steering wheel controls. Other than that, everything can update and change.

So unlike those cars with a pre-installed Pandora app that’s ready to be ignored in 10 years, CarPlay can change and shift with the times – keeping your car’s infotainment system from becoming an outdated brick years down the line. Pretty cool, huh? It’s a neat trick.

CarPlay is ubiquitous – and there’s strength in numbers

Even still though, are you worried that Apple will one day stop supporting CarPlay? That they’d just drop it from future iPhones? We wouldn’t worry just yet, and we’d be surprised if that happened anytime soon.

When first debuted in 2014, just 3 automakers supported CarPlay. Fast forward to 2018, and that number’s now at over 200 CarPlay-supporting vehicles, including models from all the big manufacturers: Chevy, Ford, VW, Honda, Toyota, etc. To say that CarPlay has seen exponential growth would be an understatement. From humble beginnings just 4 years ago, it’s now supported by almost every major auto manufacturer.

On the phone side, all iPhones starting with the 5 (and all iterations, ie the 5S, 5C, 6 Plus, etc) support CarPlay. That’s a total of 14 iPhone models as of early 2018.

If you’re wondering whether you need to worry about future compatibility, the complete ubiquity of CarPlay in today’s modern cars is almost a guarantee that it’ll be around for a long time to come.

And when you think about it, it wouldn’t make sense to roll out a feature that requires partnerships with a dozen or so auto manufacturers – only to drop it 10 years down the line. Drivers wouldn’t be happy and the car manufacturers that supported CarPlay certainly wouldn’t be happy either.

So to answer our initial question, by its very design, CarPlay will avoid becoming outdated simply because it can shift and change as time and technology move forward. And while Apple could one day cease supporting the function, we wouldn’t worry about that anytime soon.

Want to see which apps CarPlay supports? Check out our updated list of Carplay Compatible Apps!