If you’re like the vast majority of Americans, you have a smartphone in your pocket. And while the original purpose of these mobile devices was ostensibly for talking to other people, the truth is most of us use them for anything but talking to people.
Including interfacing with the system of modern cars. Android and Apple have been refining the abilities of Android Auto and CarPlay, respectively, for the last few years. Now, Cupertino wants to take that relationship further – a lot further.
In fact, it may be further than carmakers are willing to go. According to descriptions of the upcoming iOS 16 operating system previewed yesterday at Apple’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference, the specter of CarPlay may soon stretch well beyond the simple delivery of music and maps. If plans go ahead as described, it may be possible for Apple to infuse itself into every nook of a car’s display – infotainment, maps, even gauges.
Permit us a moment to acknowledge that the world’s car builders spend untold gazillions of dollars designing gauge clusters, infusing them with their own brand of style and function. Hundreds of hours are spent poring over details like character spacing and fonts. Do you really think any of them are eager to provide Apple the opportunity to replace all their hard work (and brand DNA) with Cupertino’s Day-Glo images and user experience? Not likely. Yet, at the keynote, the presenter said “Automakers around the world are excited to bring this new vision of car play to their customers.” Yeah, ok.
Perhaps someone should have asked them first. Journalists at The Verge certainly did, reaching out to a dozen car companies for their take on Apple’s grand new idea. Some responded with a variant on the “yeah, mmm-hmm” theme, with most simply spouting the notion they can’t comment on future product plans. While the talking head on the Apple stage didn’t verbally mention any specific car brands, the above slide was briefly tossed up on the screen before being whisked away.
What do you think? Well, actually, what do most of you think? We say that because we know wide swaths of the B&B still daily cars which barely have a functioning analog radio (and we love ya for it). As for the rest of you, riddle us this: would you let Apple – the company which once blamed us all for holding our phones wrong – take over your speedometer?
[Images: screenshots, Apple WWDC]
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