Apple CarPlay is set to transform from a car-friendly take on the iOS interface into a system that fully integrates with your car, even at a hardware level.
Announced at WWDC 2022, the next generation of CarPlay will integrate with a car’s instrument clusters, temperature controls and infotainment units, meaning there will be a unified experience across a car’s screens and systems.
This means a couple of very neat things.
The first is that Car Play will add the ability to tune a car’s radio or adjust its temperature without needing to leave the interface, all thanks to that hardware-level integration. That interface will be rather customizable, with custom layouts tailored to a car’s screens and instrument cluster.
That means you can have widgets on infotainment unit screens and Apple Maps navigation in the digital dashboard alongside standard graphical instrument dials, such as the RPM counter and speedometer.
Based on Apple's Car Play demo, content looks to be designed to be both unified and consistent across all of a car’s screens. In other words, the driver and passengers get the same CarPlay experience.
Furthermore, the look of icons and interfaces can be customized to have a range of layouts, backgrounds and themes, including modern look or a retro aesthetic for gauges; it all looks rather impressive. And you can select what widgets you want on display, from the likes of the weather forecast to smart home tools for controlling devices from the road.
This radically transforms Apple CarPlay from what is currently pretty much a single screen experience that was more of an infotainment unit skin or extra interface, into something that’s very much part of the car.
Apple’s new version of CarPlay will officially launch in 2023. To make use of it, you’ll need a compatible car, with those models set to arrive at the end of next year from a wide suite of car brands, including Porsche, Jaguar, Polestar, Ford, Volvo, Lincoln and Land Rover. That means regardless of your budget, you should be able to get a car with this deeper level of CarPlay integration.
We'll have to wait for the rumored Apple Car, which may never see the light of day. But we won’t have such an arduous wait to see Apple drive into the car world in another way.
Read next: Apple CarPlay could soon let you pay for gas without leaving your car — here's how