Apple released CarPlay back in 2014. The technology allowed you to mirror the iPhone onto the car's infotainment screen. Having CarPlay made it far easier (and safer) to play audio content and use navigation software from the phone while driving. CarPlay has been so popular it's now available in nearly every new car for sale in America.
Digital screens have evolved markedly in cars since 2014. And Apple just previewed the next generation of CarPlay at WWDC 2022 , which will evolve to meet them — and control more car functions.
What will next-generation Apple CarPlay be able to do?
The new Apple CarPlay won't be confined to the infotainment screen. It will control every screen you have for a holistic Apple CarPlay experience. CarPlay will take over the digital instrument cluster and display relevant information through customizable widgets and themes. CarPlay will also be able to control the climate system from within the app, so you won't have to leave the ecosystem as you currently would.
When will next-generation Apple CarPlay arrive?
We don't know yet. Apple says it will start to announce vehicles that can use next-generation CarPlay late next year — so, late 2023. It's not clear yet whether it will only be introduced in new cars or be able to be added to recent vintage cars ex post facto through software updates.
Which cars will get next-generation Apple CarPlay?
Apple showed a graphic with car companies collaborating on next-generation Apple CarPlay. Those companies included Ford/Lincoln, Jaguar Land Rover, Volvo/Polestar, Mercedes-Benz, Honda/Acura, Nissan/Infiniti, Porsche and Audi.
Does this mean the Apple Car will arrive soon?
Short answer: not really. Apple is, by all accounts, pursuing Project Titan — also known as the Apple Car — in a serious manner. Such a car will no doubt contain a similar holistic setup with iOS integration that can control the car's functions. But that's the easy part.
Apple needs to develop self-driving technology — that's the potential value add that would make the Apple Car matter. That technology may still be years away from existing, let alone being regulated and production-ready. Apple also needs to design a car, develop it and set up a manufacturing process to assemble it.
One Apple analyst has the Apple Car arriving sometime between 2025 and 2027 at the earliest — and that's in an optimistic scenario. It could be much later.