Apple’s Next-Gen CarPlay Moves Beyond Infotainment Screen

The newest version of CarPlay will fully integrate all of your vehicle's dashboard screens into one Apple ecosystem.

Apple announced a complete refresh of CarPlay to better connect with a car’s instrument panel and deep integration with the vehicle itself. CarPlay users will be able to swap what they see on the instrument panel with a very Apple-looking widget design. The mission is simple: The newest version of CarPlay will fully integrate all of your vehicle’s dashboard screens into one Apple ecosystem.

Users can add trip info, control the climate in the car, see the weather, view updated navigation information, fuel, and battery levels, and more. It can adapt to different screen sizes and has an all-new interface that is reminiscent of having an iPad on the center screen.

Apple’s substantial expansion of CarPlay’s capabilities across the entire driver environment is likely a peek at a fully immersive in-vehicle Apple experience that the tech giant is working towards,” Ed Kim, President, and chief analyst at AutoPacific told Newsweek.

Much has been said about the ‘Apple Car,’ but rather than Apple becoming a full-fledged automaker, the available information out there seems to point to the company working to develop a fully integrated experience that involves everything from autonomous driving using Siri as an input device, full e-commerce capabilities while driving, and revenue sharing agreements between Apple and its partners that are involved,” Kim said.

Apple says more announcements will come late next year. Apple has been working internally on an electric autonomous vehicle, but the company keeps getting hit with setbacks and executive departures. This new CarPlay integration is the closest we’ve seen to what an Apple Car could look like.

Apple added that CarPlay users will be able to personalize their driving experience by choosing different gauge cluster designs, and widgets will provide at-a-glance information from the Weather and Music apps right on a vehicle’s dashboard.

Apple said the first vehicles to support the new CarPlay experience will be announced later this year, with committed automakers including Ford, Lincoln, Mercedes-Benz, Infiniti, Honda, Acura, Jaguar, Land Rover, Audi, Nissan, Volvo, Porsche, and more. Apple said it will share more information about the new CarPlay experience in the future.

Introduced in 2014, CarPlay is Apple’s in-vehicle software platform that can be accessed through a vehicle’s infotainment system when an iPhone is connected to the vehicle with a Lightning cable or wirelessly in vehicles that support wireless CarPlay.