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Apple Announces In-Car iOS Platform CarPlay

Michael Moore joined TechWeek Europe in January 2014 as a trainee before graduating to Reporter later that year. He covers a wide range of topics, including but not limited to mobile devices, wearable tech, the Internet of Things, and financial technology.

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CarPlay will allow drivers to safely use apps such as Siri and iTunes whilst at the wheel

Apple has announced it is partnering with many of the world’s leading car manufactures to bring its iOS platform into vehicles before the end of the year.

At the Geneva International Motor Show today, the company unveiled its CarPlay platform, which promises “a thoughtful experience that lets drivers focus on driving, while also tapping into everything they want to do with their iPhone”.

CarPlay will include popular apps and services such as Siri and iTunes, and will be available on all Lightning-enabled iPhones, including iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c and iPhone 5, as an update to iOS 7.

Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo are all showing vehicles with CarPlay in Geneva this week, with Apple confirming it has also signed up other top car manufacturers to introduce the technology to their cars.

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“iPhone users always want their content at their fingertips and CarPlay lets drivers use their iPhone in the car with minimised distraction,” said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s vice president of iPhone and iOS Product Marketing. “We have an amazing line-up of auto partners rolling out CarPlay.”

Once a user has connected their iPhone to their vehicle, they will safely be able to access many of Apple’s popular apps whilst driving. Apple’s voice assistant, Siri, will allow users to access contacts, make calls, return missed calls or listen to voicemails. If you receive a text message or notification whilst driving, Siri will read these out and allow you to dictate a response or call the user back, allowing you to keep your eyes on the road.

CarPlay will also integrate with Apple’s Maps service, suggesting destinations based on recent trips or the conversations you’ve had recently with contacts. Similar to many current in-car GPS systems, it will also provide route instructions, traffic conditions and ETA, with Siri giving you spoken turn-by-turn directions.

Lastly, CarPlay will remove all the hassle usually associated with syncing your music library with a car’s USB port by allowing seamless access to your iTunes library, including music, podcasts, audiobooks and iTunes Radio. Siri can also play her part here, with users able to say what music they would like played. CarPlay will also come with support for third-party audio apps including Spotify and iHeartRadio.

Apple’s news follows that of Google, its major rival in the mobile OS world, which announced last month that it would be bringing its Android platform to cars through its Open Automotive Alliance (OAA). The search giant is working with chip manufacturer Nvidia to allow users to access apps and services such as satellite navigation, voice control, or media, from a synced mobile device via their vehicle’s dashboard.

Google says it has already enlisted several major car manufacturers, including Audi, GM, Honda, and Hyundai into the OAA, with more to come in the future, and hopes to show off the technology later this year.

The full list of manufacturers Apple says it has signed up to introduce CarPlay with is BMW, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover, Kia, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Peugeot Citroën, Subaru, Suzuki and Toyota, alongside the three demonstrating the technology in Geneva this week.

There had been speculation that Apple was looking to move into the car manufacturing industry itself, as rumours last year linked the company with a takeover of electric-car pioneers Tesla Motors. However neither company commented on the news.

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