On Monday, Apple unveiled a new generation of its CarPlay software, which moves from its current location on the entertainment screen to take care of everything the driver has in front of them.
While the leap from one notch to another may seem like a small step for Apple, it’s a huge leap forward in terms of technology and business relationships between the iPhone manufacturer and automakers around the world.
Electric vehicle leader Tesla Inc. has demonstrated to consumers the popularity of a large in-vehicle display and fully integrated software. Automakers are pushing for a relationship with consumers in more software-dominated cars to generate more profits.
The current version of Apple CarPlay, available in 98% of new cars in the US, is severely limited in its capabilities.
CarPlay apps appear on in-car entertainment screens and can stream music or podcasts after a user connects their iPhone to a car. However, the software cannot control even the basic functions of the vehicle, such as changing the air conditioning settings.
Speakers at Apple’s development conference on Monday showed the image with the logos of more than a dozen car brands, including Ford, Mercedes, Audi and Porsche. Apple says automakers are “excited” about the concept of dashboard displays, which offer a more cohesive look to Apple.
To this end, for the first time, iPhones will communicate with the vehicle’s driving systems in real time – a key step for Apple to potentially enhance autonomous driving capabilities in the future.
Representatives of some of these brands have identified their companies as interested, but said no decisions have yet been made on future models.
“We are working with Apple on this development project,” a Porsche spokesman said.
THE GUARDS ARE CAR MANUFACTURERS
Car manufacturers are worried about Apple and other technology gloves. They saw phone makers like Motorola and Nokia, as well as former great powers in the music industry, shrank as these businesses swallowed up iPhones and Android smartphones.
“There is no doubt that this is a threat, because car manufacturers, especially when switching to software-defined vehicles, are aware that they are exposed to a significant risk of losing any ability to interact with consumers if they cannot be combined,” he said. Evangelos Simoudis, a venture capitalist and consultant from Silicon Valley, who closely monitors the technology of connected vehicles.
At the same time, major automakers know that their current entertainment systems are a persistent cause of consumer complaints against quality managers at JD Power and Associates and other market research firms.
In China, young consumers are turning their backs on established brands, in part because their connectivity is unmatched by what Tesla’s start-up electric cars or the Chinese technology industry have to offer.
The next generation of vehicles from major car manufacturers will have large dashboard screens. Mercedes-Benz, for example, has shown a prototype Vision EQXX electric sedan with a 47.5-inch (121 cm) widescreen display and reportedly offers features such as an “efficiency assistant” that calculates the route with the most fuel economy. .
It is now competing over who will develop software to power such screens, who will control the flow of data from the vehicle and on-board customers, and who can generate revenue when the vehicles are on the road.
Carmakers have an advantage over older mobile phone manufacturers: they are the guardians of critical vehicle electronic systems, which are subject to extensive government safety regulations and hardware resilience requirements that are much more stringent than in the smartphone industry.
There are signs that automakers and technology companies are reconciling. Google from Alphabet Inc. has agreements with General Motors Co., Volvo Cars and the Renault-Nissan Alliance to provide software for the next generation of systems. Amazon.com has entered into agreements with carmakers to integrate its voice assistant Alex into vehicles.
At Monday’s conference call, Emily Schubert, Apple’s automotive experience manager, said that with the new software, “your iPhone communicates with your vehicle’s systems in real time in a way that respects privacy and displays all information about your ride.”
The software also indicates Apple’s future in autonomous management.
While Reuters previously said that Apple could launch its own electric vehicle with autonomous capability as early as 2024 or 2025, moving its software to the instrument cluster brings the iPhone manufacturer closer to the key systems and controls in the vehicle that it would had Apple approach. supply self-management software from other companies.
“Cars have changed a lot, there are bigger screens all over the car,” Schubert said during the keynote. “There’s an opportunity for the iPhone to play an even bigger role.”
Apple announced the software before it was released to the public, saying that the cars that use it will not be announced until the end of next year. Apple seems to be giving car manufacturers plenty of time to customize the new CarPlay software, recognizing that the final look of the software may look different for Fords and Ferraris.