Imagine you’ve spent the last hour shopping in the downtown area of the town you call home. You’ve been walking around while listening to music, and now after having purchased the last item you set out to obtain, you head back to your car.
You’re in the middle of listening to a symphony and don’t want to interrupt your auditory experience. Forty-four percent of Americans who own smartphones own an iPhone, and you’re happy to include yourself in that group. Technology is evolving at a rapid pace, and as you approach your car, you wonder why you can’t simply connect your phone to your car and continue listening to that symphony while you begin your trek home.
But that will all soon change.
Apple recently announced the unveiling of its CarPlay offering, an infotainment system that embraces the future of the connected car, or automobiles that leverage the power of the Internet to enhance the driving experience. The system will be available in Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo vehicles.
Other car manufacturers like BMW, Ford, General Motors and Honda will have to wait a little while longer to be CarPlay compatible. CarPlay-ready models of vehicles made by the three partnered car manufacturers are expected to ship sometime this year.
In addition to letting users listen to music from the iPhone, CarPlay will allow them to make phone calls, browse their contacts, look at maps and more, all by talking with Siri.
“CarPlay has been designed from the ground up to provide drivers with an incredible experience using their iPhone in the car,” explains Greg Joswiak of Apple. “iPhone users always want their content at their fingertips, and CarPlay lets drivers use their iPhone in the car with minimized distraction.”
Cost and Availability
It’s not yet precisely evident just how much such a system will cost to end users, but generally speaking, those who have to tighten their belts because of their current financial situation might want to hold off on immediately acquiring the equipment themselves, or better yet, luck out and find it in an affordable used vehicle sometime in the future.
As for the iPhone itself, integration with CarPlay is available as an update to iOS 7. The bad news for users of “antiquated” versions of the iPhone is that the technology is only compatible with an iPhone 5, iPhone 5c or iPhone 5s.
Apple’s dive into the connected car market shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who’s been paying attention of that particular segment of the market. According to Juniper Research, there will be nearly 100 million connected cars by the year 2016 and other research indicates that the global connected car market could swell to as much as $131.9 billion by 2019. It makes sense that the Cupertino, California based company would try to claim as big a chunk of that market as early as it can.
How the market ends up turning out in the near future remains to be seen, but one thing is for certain. As more and more connected cars populate our roads, the driving experience is bound to be transformed. With the potential for driverless cars, significantly reduced frequency of accidents and robust on-demand entertainment possibilities, the future of the car is an exciting one.