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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 Navigation CarPlay Texting & Calls

Why Apple CarPlay Saves Lives

You always hear how important it is to never text and drive, but how many people actually listen to that advice? According to the CDC, motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of death in the United States. It is estimated that more than 35,000 people lose their lives to motor vehicle accidents. A major reason for many of those accidents is distracted cellphone usage. This is especially the case for drivers who text and browse the web while operating a motor vehicle. 

It’s no secret that driving can take up a lot your time.  And sometimes you will get that super important text message from your boss or that critical email from your coworker which you need to respond to ASAP. So, like many people you probably have picked up the phone or texted away while driving. All whilst accepting that you are putting yourself and others in great risk. But what if there was a safe and responsible way to handle those tricky driving situations?

Enter Voice Recognition

Voice recognition technology has greatly advanced in recent years and can now be used as a primary form of input. This is great news for those times you need to use your phone on the road. Your hands and eyes are usually busy when driving, but your voice is not. And if you own a car equipped with Apple CarPlay you will have access to a highly advanced voice recognition system which will work as your very own personal driving assistant.

Enter CarPlay

Vehicles equipped with Apple CarPlay’s hand free voice recognition system enjoy a variety of features like hands-free texting, hands-free navigational mapping, and hands-free web searches. If you drive with CarPlay you will never have to type that risky text on the highway ever again. Your voice assistant will do it for you! Apple CarPlay connects to your phone seamlessly and all incoming message will be available to read on your CarPlay display. You can also use your CarPlay voice assistant for navigational instructions so that you will never have those awkward mapping on the go moments ever again. Browsing the web for a quick question is also just as easy, all you have to do is direct your question to your CarPlay system and you will get a prompt response. 

How to set up your Apple CarPlay Voice Assistant

  • Step 1: Make sure your car is turned on
  • Step 2:  Enable Siri in your iPhone system settings
  • Step 3: Connect your iPhone to your car via USB or Bluetooth
  • Step 4: Use your car’s specific Voice Command button to activate its voice assistant (Check your vehicle’s manual for more instructions)
Categories
CarPlay Apps CarPlay Music & Podcasts

Spotify Pushes into CarPlay’s Music Turf

Not surprisingly, Spotify has risen in status to the most popular music app around, including both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Interestingly, Spotify has become so popular lately since there are so many other options in music, including Apple Music and Deezer. However, much of Spotify’s success has to do with its innovation. Back in October 2019, Spotify finally received full Siri integration, and now, Spotify is offering a new “car mode” that has everybody buzzing. 

Spotify and Siri

In October 2019, Spotify announced that iOS lovers can now use Siri together with Spotify. The lack of functionality that existed between Spotify and Apple previously was a source of some stress for both parties. Finally, the two decided to set aside their differences and work together, realizing the potential benefits for both companies. 

Before Apple and Spotify buried the hatched, only Apple Music worked with Siri. However, everything changed back in October 2019 when Apple introduced the SiriKit to iOS 13. Spotify moved quickly to use those functions, and now, after you’ve performed the update, you’ll be able to use Spotify with Siri’s voice commands. 

However, the introduction of Siri into Spotify isn’t the only achievement that we’ve seen from Spotify recently. Recently, Spotify has been the source of a lot of speculation because of the app’s unique car mode feature.

Spotify and Car Mode

Not only can you now use Siri with Spotify, but you can also get your very own car view when you install Spotify. Now, precisely what do we mean by a “car view?” If your car doesn’t have the latest infotainment system, like Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, or if you are one of those people that prefers to live on his or her phone, then Spotify has a solution for you. 

By using Spotify on a car that lacks an infotainment system, Spotify’s app will now create its own “car view” so that you have an interface similar to the Apple CarPlay or Android Auto interface. By offering a feature like this, where users that lack an infotainment system can still play music from their Spotify app as if they had one, the expectation is that Spotify is likely to boom even more significantly than it already has.

Spotify is already the most popular music app in the world. By offering its car mode through the app, we can only imagine how much larger Spotify will become once their updated app takes off. 

What You’ll See with Spotify’s Car Mode

If you use Spotify’s car mode, you’ll see a dumbed-down version of the original Spotify menu that’s meant to be more comfortable for drivers to use while they are on-the-go. The icons and the text are blown up so that drivers have easier access to them. Since January 2019, this feature has been available in the app. However, it appears that Spotify has several other plans for this app now that it’s been released. 

Spotify is currently working on improving its car mode for the future. For example, Spotify plans to expand its update into podcasts so that there will also be larger icons and easy-to-read artwork, making things easier on drivers. However, nobody quite knows when Spotify intends to release their improvements. However, most people expect Spotify to complete their modifications and then introduce another update later on in 2020. 

Categories
Auto Manufacturers & CarPlay CarPlay Navigation CarPlay News

iOS 13 – The Dust Has Settled

CarPlay is Apple’s solution to automakers’ generally awful infotainment efforts in their cars, trucks and SUVs over the last ten years.

iOS 13 is Apple’s latest phone software, and because iPhones are what runs CarPlay, CarPlay is updated and thus improved. It was released about a month ago, so we’ve had time to experience its changes, improvements, and in some cases, frustrations.

Loves and Hates

  • There’s no way to End a trip in Apple Maps from the main Maps screen (not Dashboard) — you have to go to the phone itself to find the red End button.
  • The overview/detail button in Apple Maps isn’t clear, and usually doesn’t work. Sometimes it’s a compass arrow, sometimes it’s a squiggly, in all cases it’s either laggy or doesn’t do anything. See photo below.
  • The new dashboard is nice, not mind-blowing, but nice.
  • More controls have been “surfaced” up to a single tap from the top-level. See photo below.
  • Siri still doesn’t do much for me. She’s just a nice-sounding interface to static information.
  • The improved interaction of Calendar in CarPlay is super.

Changes in iOS 13 CarPlay

  • CarPlay is now five years old!
  • Do not disturb while driving shows a moon icon near signal strength and battery level.
  • The secondary display — your iPhone itself — remains unchanged in the various configurations we’ve tried it with.
  • Siri is not in this list of changes despite what Apple says.

When Will Siri Show Up?

When will Siri show up as an intelligent, AI-powered feature that predicts things we consider truly useful? She’s still a basic assistant who is simply an intermediary between your daily business and you. She just looks up stuff you could find with a quick look at your calendar, your messages, your email, etc.

Wake me when Siri is an actual AI, one that predicts your needs and offers you useful information before it occurs to you to find it. My test for this behavior milestone is when Siri offers me information that I say “I didn’t know I needed that.”

Photos of CarPlay — iOS 13

Dashboard

The new Dashboard in CarPlay iOS 13. It displays a summary of several different pieces, in this case Maps, entertainment (an audio book), and the next item from my Calendar.

Apple Maps in Dashboard

2D vs 3D Maps

This image shows the difference between 2D and 3D views in Apple Maps. Note the 3D screenshot shows a low-resolution instance. This isn’t the traditional definition of resolution, this means that buildings and other items are not rendered in fancy 3D fashion.
Where’s the 2d/3d button? Where’s the overview/detail button? Where’s the zoom button? Context is important here — many of these things are missing because there is no destination programmed, but still, these things should be here.

Secondary (iPhone itself) Display

Categories
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.

Categories
CarPlay Navigation

How To Use Maps in CarPlay

Navigation for Newbies: Navigation is Easy!

One of the benefits of using Apple Maps to navigate your route in CarPlay has to do with its simplicity.

Even if you are a CarPlay newbie, you’ll find that much of the user interface is easy to operate. Still, you might run into a few hiccups here and there, so we’re covering navigation for newbies to help you avoid any pitfalls.

Apple Maps icon in CarPlay
Apple Maps in CarPlay – tap this icon to open Maps

Using Maps in CarPlay

Launching Maps in CarPlay is easy.

Simply tap the “Maps” icon and give “Maps” some time to determine your current location. Once you’ve done that, you can utilize zoom to get a more precise look at your destination, swap from a two-dimensional appearance to a three-dimensional one, explore what’s around you, and figure out where you want to go next.

Apple Maps in CarPlay's 3D button
Apple Maps in CarPlay’s 3D button

If you need Maps to provide you with some guidance as you figure out your next stop, all you need to do is tap on “Destinations.” Depending on your location, you’ll get some advice from CarPlay about what’s around you. You’ll see a few icons that you can select from, including “Gas,” “Parking,” “Coffee,” “Food,” and more. Select the type of destination you want to find, and once you tap that icon, you’ll wind up with a bevy of locations you can access that are near to you.

CarPlay screenshot of Apple Maps' 3D view
Apple Maps’ 3D view. Hello, future.

Getting Directions in CarPlay

One of the most popular features that users of CarPlay love is how easy it is to use Maps for navigation. If you want some turn-by-turn directions as you head to your next stop, then all you need to do is program your destination into Maps using the touchscreen. Or, you can talk to Siri.

Touchscreen Directions

  1. If you want to get turn-by-turn directions using the touchscreen on CarPlay, simply tap Maps and then go to “Destinations.”
  2. If you plan to go somewhere you recently visited, you should be able to tap on “Recent” to select your next stop.
  3. However, if you never used CarPlay to navigate to a destination before, tap on the “Microphone” icon instead. You can then speak your destination aloud. CarPlay will search around you and give you some options to pick from. Simply tap the correct destination on the touchscreen.
  4. If you want other options in directions, you can tap on “More Routes.” When you know which route you want to take, select it and click “Go.”

Using Siri for Directions

If you’d rather use Siri to get your directions, you’ll be happy to know that this process is quite simple.

  1. First, hold down the CarPlay button found on your steering wheel, or hold the CarPlay “Home” button located on your touchscreen.
  2. Next, talk to Siri and say, “Get me directions to…” and say the address of the location or type of location. Siri will then give you some options to pick from.
  3. Once you choose one, it will display on your touchscreen.

Keeping It Simple

If you visit the same spots often, it is worthwhile for you to mark those places as favorites on your iPhone so that you won’t have to search for them each time. Once you save a favorite, you can find it again by touching the “Heart” icon you can access from your “Destinations” screen.

This is a CarPlay screenshot dimmed at night. It's activated by turning on your headlights.
CarPlay dims the map display at night. This dimmed mode is activated by turning on your headlights.
CarPlay screenshot of Maps' 3D view
Another CarPlay screenshot of Maps’ 3D view, during a drive with a destination selected. This particular example helpfully displays a Dunkin Donuts location.
Categories
CarPlay Apps General CarPlay Information

New to CarPlay? Here Are Some Newbie Tips…

Let’s Begin

If you haven’t heard, Apple’s CarPlay is available in 99% of new cars. While CarPlay has loads of headroom to grow into, CarPlay does most but not all of what it needs to do to keep drivers satisfied… and not crashing.

CarPlay gives us an abbreviated, car-centered, voice-centered mobile version of iOS.

So, if you are new to Apple CarPlay, what can you expect? Since this writer is also a CarPlay novice, let me share with you some of the things that strike me about my first experiences with Apple’s new product.

  • You need to make friends with Siri to easily use Apple CarPlay.
  • Apple Music works well with CarPlay.
  • Using Siri with CarPlay, you can Access Apple Music, talk on your phone, read a message, or navigate your destination through Apple Maps.
  • CarPlay doesn’t offer a wide choice of apps.

Siri is your best help when you start using CarPlay. You can find Siri anytime by accessing the on-screen home button. So, if you get lost as you play with CarPlay, just talk to Siri.

No New Software Required

You won’t need to download any apps on your iPhone to play music through CarPlay. Instead, the best thing to use, Apple Music, is already on your iPhone. You can get assistance by using the touchscreen on the car, or by talking to Siri.

Siri will help you not just with playing your music, however. Siri also does a fantastic job of helping users out with phone calls and messages. To call somebody, all you need to do is ask Siri. Siri can also also read your messages to you when you are on the road so that you can drive safely.

If you need some directions, you can ask Siri to assist you with Apple Maps. Apple Maps will give you simple voice prompts to help you navigate while you drive.

To date, CarPlay is limited because it doesn’t offer a wide variety of apps. However, since Apple’s focus is on keeping drivers safe, some of the limitations are understandable. Regardless, I enjoy using CarPlay as a newbie because I can do what is necessary without using my hands while driving, and that makes me feel safe.