The new software release also gives us our best look yet at what Apple’s long-rumored electric car might look like from the inside, at least. Teaser images show cars that will wrap drivers in well-known Apple technology, from their speedometers to their entertainment systems to their climate control systems.
Currently, CarPlay turns a car’s touchscreen into an extension of a connected iPhone, allowing drivers to use apps like Siri, Spotify and navigation on a larger, more convenient screen. The next iteration of CarPlay, announced at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conferencetakes it a step further by completely replacing a vehicle’s built-in interface and taking over essential vehicle functions such as the radio, air conditioning and heated seats.
It means that in the near future drivers will never have to touch their car’s software again, which can be clunky and unintuitive. Everything they do and see on their vehicle’s multiple screens runs through Apple’s familiar and engaging operating system.
Even the speedometer and fuel gauge will be integrated into the CarPlay interface in cars with a driver’s screen. Apple says drivers can choose from different colors, layouts and styles for their meter cluster. Another benefit of the new system, according to Apple: useful widgets that show things like real-time weather and calendar events can be displayed on vehicle screens.
The new, all-encompassing CarPlay system could be a preview of the kind of user experience Apple plans for its future electric car. Apple has been tight-lipped about the project, but reports over the years suggest the tech giant is… working on an autonomous vehicle and is looking for cooperation with an existing manufacturer to build it.
According to Apple, automakers including Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Porsche, Ford, Audi and Honda will adopt the new CarPlay in future models. The vehicles will be announced at the end of next year.