Apple Introduces First Carplay with Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo

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Apple’s Carplay hits the road. Now Apple introduces Carplay with Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo.

Apple announces makes big news, so when the tech giant shows up at the Geneva auto show with something to say, the car world listens. Today, Apple’s big reveal is its new CarPlay technology, which will soon crop up in new vehicles across the industry, starting with the new 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-class and the 2015 Volvo XC90—both due later this year—and many others.

CarPlay essentially takes smartphone integration to the next level for iPhone users by bringing its iOS user interface—squircle-shaped app icons and all—into each car’s center-stack controls, once a properly updated iPhone 5s, 5c or 5 running iOS 7 is connected via a Lightning cable. In the case of the Benz, for example, CarPlay goes through its remote dial-and-screen-based COMAND system, while the Volvo tranforms its vertical center touch screen into an enlarged copy of the iPhone, only with digital climate controls on either side.

Commonly used apps—including music, maps, and podcasts—are among those that will appear at launch, as well as third-party streaming apps such as Spotify, iHeartRadio, Stitcher, and Beats Radio. No specific details were provided about social-media apps such as Facebook and Twitter, although they could certainly have some functionality in the future. Apple says that in-car Wi-Fi—where available—also may be added to the CarPlay system as an option.

Apple says that CarPlay also will transfer navigation functions from the Maps app to the car, anticipating destinations based on recent trips via contacts, e-mails or texts, and providing routing instructions, traffic conditions, and estimated times of arrival.

In addition to the aforementioned XC90 and C-class, Apple says that CarPlay will be available later this year in some Ferrari, Honda, Hyundai, and Jaguar models. BMW, Ford, GM, Kia, Toyota, Subaru, and Nissan plan to embrace the technology in the near future.

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