Apple’s CarPlay has been the subject of many car-related conversations lately. The world finally got a glimpse of what the console will look like and how it will act this past Wednesday at the New York International Auto Show.
All of the things that Apple has promised seem to be in check, but the question of whether or not the console will be another unnecessary driving distraction has yet to be answered.
As you might have guessed, one look at the console and reviewers everywhere had this to say: the CarPlay console is just like an iPhone. So, if you currently have an iPhone, you know what kind of setup to expect. All of the amazing graphics, colors, and logical planning that goes into an iPhone is present with CarPlay.
What does that all mean? You’ll get touchscreen responsiveness a la iPhone; Siri; Apple Maps (a better version); and the ability to make calls and receive messages (using Siri). All of these things are displayed on a large and colorful screen that will be directly integrated into car dashboards (starting with Volvo).
Pioneer will soon be making CarPlay consoles that you can buy independently and install too, so anyone can have access to Apple’s newest invention. Apple’s mission (other than selling more devices) in creating CarPlay was to make driving safer, but is this what CarPlay really does?
The Potential Problems
When an incoming message with an attachment is sent to your CarPlay console, Siri will read that message to you, but Siri won’t tell you that a photo has been sent. This is to avoid any possible accidents that might occur as the result of craning your neck to look at a photo. But, what’s the probability that Siri might read, “hey! You have to look at this!” without causing a driver to look for an image? CarPlay also displays everything on a really hard to resist colorful touchscreen that’s hard not to look at.
Technically, CarPlay aims to cut down on cellphone usage while you are driving. However, Apple is going to have a hard time convincing everyone that this is what CarPlay actually does. It seems, right now, that CarPlay will be more distracting than not, and, really, do you need to get your text messages while you are driving?
The one bonus here is that you can ask Siri to give you directions to a destination, and that prevents you from actually having to look at a GPS system (or toy with GPS settings). Still, I’m not sure that makes up for the other distractions that CarPlay will eventually create.
Apple’s new CarPlay will be available in upcoming Volvos within the next few months. After that, other car companies will pick up the console, and it will eventually go to Pioneer where it will sell separately (and will have to be installed in a vehicle). You do have to have an iPhone to operate CarPlay correctly.
Thoughts? Distraction or useful?