When Apple marketing boss Greg Joswiak appeared on stage with Ferrari chairman Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, it was a clear statement from the tech giant: We have a new product, we’re entering the automotive world, and we are targeting for high net-worth individuals.
The new CarPlay gizmo was unveiled at the Geneva Motorshow in a new-edition four-seat Ferrari FF grand tourer, but both Mercedes-Benz and Volvo have since pushed to align themselves with Apple’s new toy.
Geared as “the best iPhone experience on four wheels”, CarPlay is only available in selected autos. Essentially a safer and more practical interface to grapple with iPhone functionality on the move, the device facilitates music, phone calls, messaging and maps – largely via Apple’s voice-responsive Siri.
As well as touchscreen functionality, CarPlay also works with the car’s knobs, dials, or buttons. “If it controls your screen, it controls CarPlay,” says Apple.
The system, known during its development phase as “iOS in the Car” has now officially launched and will roll out on Ferrari, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo models throughout 2014.
Volvo launched its own promotional video during the motorshow. The XC90 will be the first model to offer CarPlay functionality through Apple’s Lightning cable, but Wi-Fi support is pending.
Back in January, Germany’s BMW pledged to extend its own BMW Remote application to Samsung’s Galaxy Gear smartwatch. More than just a timepiece, the wrist-mounted device syncs with the driver’s smartphone to display read-outs and stats at a glance.