Wireless in your car
Whether it’s maps, music, voicemail or weather, in-car tech is getting smarter all the time. Here’s how to get online on the road
Thanks to GPS, mobile broadband and initiatives like Apple’s CarPlay, cars are becoming as smart as our homes.
Most of the world’s car makers have signed up to CarPlay (you can see a comprehensive list at apple.co/1LH6yhR) and there’s a growing number of aftermarket infotainment systems from companies such as Alpine, Kenwood and Pioneer.
CarPlay effectively turns your car’s existing infotainment system into an extension of iOS, giving you easy access to favourite apps such as Music, Maps, Podcasts and Messages. You can even ask Siri to read your messages to you, and you can dictate replies in return.
You don’t just have to use iOS’s default apps either. There’s a growing number of third-party apps that are CarPlay-ready, including Spotify, Audible and iHeartRadio, and apps developed by car makers themselves.
Right now you’ll need to use a wired connection to your car or aftermarket system, but Apple’s developing a wireless solution too. It first introduced the idea of this in a developer build of iOS 8.3, and then talked about it at WWDC 2015. It still hasn’t announced anything concrete as yet, but once it does, and you have compatible hardware in your car, you’ll be able to use CarPlay without a cable, possibly over Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. You may still want to plug in your iPhone to charge it, of course.
One of the best things about CarPlay is that it’s been designed with driver and passenger safety in mind. It not only gives you easy-to-access touchscreen access to the iOS apps you want to use, but it’s also able to use the knobs and buttons on your’s car infotainment system to access certain features. Now that’s smart!
Eventually you won’t need to keep a spare Lightning cable handy to use CarPlay features.