A next-gen version of Apple CarPlay is making waves in the auto industry today at Apple’s WWDC 2022 event. It’s much more than just a minor update to the normal old screen projection on the infotainment screen. No, today Apple proposed a system that would take over every screen in the car, including the instrument panel.
As shown, Apple software would literally power every last part of the car’s user interface. In contrast, the current Apple CarPlay can take over the display of your infotainment system, but that’s where the experience ends. The meter cluster (if fully digital) and all other auxiliary displays are all powered by OEM designed software. In Apple’s example of the next-gen system, the instrument panel essentially becomes an Apple CarPlay-powered instrument panel, using Apple-designed gauges, widgets, and more. The look you eventually see on the cluster is highly customizable with various Apple-designed gauges, layouts, and more. But it would be a unified and consistent experience for any vehicle that can use this version of Apple CarPlay. In theory, a Porsche’s gauge set could look exactly like a Nissan’s, if both companies decide to support this level of integration.
How does this work? Apple says that “your iPhone communicates on the device with your vehicle’s real-time systems in a privacy-friendly manner.” Yes, that is very vague, but there is no additional information at this time. At the very least, it looks like the iPhone will continue to need the same wired or wireless connection to the car for the system to work. But again, that’s not made crystal clear here.
Skip to 40:28 in the video above to see the Apple CarPlay section.
The integration also goes deeper into the infotainment system. Instead of having to leave CarPlay to tune the radio or adjust the climate control (in cars without physical climate control), you could do both in the Apple CarPlay software. This would really be a real Apple takeover of your daily vital car functions. You could customize the display with widgets such as the calendar app, music app and more, allowing you to move them between the central infotainment display and the meter cluster as you wish.
So, when is it coming? And which cars can use this software? Apple doesn’t have a clear answer to either one, but it did flash a number of brands on the screen, saying they’re “excited to bring this new vision of CarPlay to customers.” Those include Land Rover, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Nissan, Ford, Lincoln, Audi, Jaguar, Acura, Volvo, Honda, Infiniti, Polestar and Renault.
As of now, Apple says it will announce specific vehicles it will support “by the end of next year.” In principle, don’t expect this to affect cars anytime soon, as the first vehicles announced will be by the end of 2023.