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Ever felt in-car infotainment systems seemed to be designed as an afterthought? Apple has come to the rescue with a solution called CarPlay, which is gradually becoming available in many new car models.

After plugging your iPhone into the CarPlay system, your in-car touchscreen provides access to various apps such as Apple Music, Pandora, Spotify, Podcasts, Apple Messages, Apple Maps, Audible and more. Your touchscreen is basically transformed into a minimalist iPad, with bigger, easy to tap on icons and simplified functionality that won’t distract your focus on the road.

CarPlay uses Apple’s popular voice assistant Siri for controlling apps via voice control. This can be considered positive or negative, depending on your previous experience when using Siri on iPhone. When sending a message, Siri requires you to dictate your full message and will read it back to you for confirmation. If you’re a frequent messenger, this could turn into interesting process and there is no onscreen keyboard for safety reasons.

One downside of the system is that CarPlay can have limited or no control over car specific features, such as air conditioning, climate control and lighting. Apple says that manufacturers have the ability to integrate these features down the track.

Similarly, although the range of audio apps is impressive, other functionality such as messaging and navigation only uses Apple’s built-in apps, so popular services such as Whatsapp and Google Maps are not available.

Overall, Apple’s CarPlay is a smooth entry into the in-car infotainment sector. If the rumours of Apple creating their own car eventuate, we may have something special in store.

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