Future of Apple CarPlay: why tech giant is now working with car firms

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For Aston Martin, the position is slightly different. Aston Martin is an exclusive brand, but the native infotainment experience is built on an outdated Mercedes system.

In recent cars, there has been a disconnect between the brand and the user experience. Again, accepting a fully integrated Apple CarPlay experience side-steps that – and when you’re looking to appeal to a new generation of drivers, that’s hugely important.

What this doesn’t always allow for, however, is systems that go beyond conventional displays. The big message from the Aston Martin or Porsche collaboration is that you can get Apple CarPlay on the driver display, but this piece of real estate is increasingly under attack. While sports cars are heavily keyed into those dials as a performance cue, many conventional cars are reducing the driver display in favour of the heads-up display (HUD).

Indeed, this needs to be the next evolution for Apple CarPlay, because without integration into the HUD, a key part of the modern driving experience gets missed.

What does Apple get out of the deal?

Working with Porsche and Aston Martin gives Apple two premium marques to showcase CarPlay as a more enhanced platform. Apple may limit the customisation it offers just to premium marques in the short term so that there’s an air of exclusivity about things, but by working with heritage brands initially, Apple could be aiming to whet the appetite of the rest of the automotive industry, which will surely be wanting to offer that to customers too.

Apple’s rival in the motoring world (and much of the tech world) is Google, which has made big inroads with both Android Auto (the rivalling phone-based system) and Android Automotive, which runs on the car’s systems itself – most notably found in Polestar and Volvo cars. Indeed, Android Automotive sits behind the system in the new Porsche models too.

Yes, there’s a beautiful irony in the fact that Apple’s showcase CarPlay experience is running on Android Automotive, given the rivalry between these big tech brands. The difference is that everyone knows when they are using Apple CarPlay, but Android as a platform can be used without any hint that it’s Google’s software. Indeed, BMW is shifting over to an Android-based platform with the next-gen Operating System 9.

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