Apple CarPlay in 2018


With the door to 2017 firmly closed, as we look back at Apple CarPlay over the past year, I think we can all agree it has ‘slowly’ continued to evolve.

The highlights in 2017 included the first wireless CarPlay stereo receiver from Alpine, which after much delay, finally released in July. The first factory vehicle with wireless CarPlay support also rolled out of BMW’s showroom. A small number of manufacturers yet to feature CarPlay jumped onboard with their first Apple CarPlay supported vehicles, along with the first CarPlay-enabled motorcycle from Honda. Those stuck with a single-DIN where happy in 2017 when Pioneer announced the first single-DIN receiver with CarPlay support. Apple continued to evolve their iOS software with the release of iOS 11, which brought speed limits and lane guidance features in its Maps app and badge notifications on apps in the side dock.

Looking back though, CarPlay hasn’t taken the leap we all wish from Apple’s in-car platform. In 2018 however, I hope this year will be a better year for Apple CarPlay. What could Apple improve CarPlay in 2018? Let’s look into our crystal ball…

More Wireless CarPlay Receivers

Only two wireless CarPlay options were made available to consumers last year, at both ends of the price spectrum. But in 2018, this is very likely to grow in leaps and bounds, thanks to the standardised technology and manufacturers having additional time to get the required Wi-Fi and Bluetooth components into vehicles and upcoming aftermarket receivers.

With the Consumer Electronics Show 2018 opening just a week away, we are highly likely to hear about new aftermarket receivers from Alpine, JCV Kenwood, Pioneer and possibly Sony too.

A pair of wireless Android Auto receivers have already been teased from JCV Kenwood prior to the event, and we are likely going to hear from more aftermarket manufacturers who will want to steal the wireless crown from Alpine in 2018. Wireless-enabled CarPlay receivers releasing from Pioneer in 2018 is a certain possibly, and Alpine could also be set to release a 2nd-generation wireless headunit in 2018.

More Wireless CarPlay Enabled Vehicles

Soon after CES 2018 we have the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, USA. Here is where we will likely hear about more technologies in upcoming vehicles from various manufacturers. Some will no doubt want to feature wireless CarPlay as a key bullet-point in their technology unveilings.

We may see more wired CarPlay supported in low-end models as standard, with wireless being a premium option in vehicles. This alone will be good for CarPlay and further increase the platform’s adoption rate.

Wireless Charging

Although not entirely related to Apple CarPlay, with the growth of wireless charging in iPhone 8, iPhone 8-Plus and iPhone X devices, I am sure we will hear a few manufacturers offering wireless charging stations in their premium vehicles.

This technology is still a bit of a luxury at the moment, so I am sure manufacturers will reserve such technology in their more high-end, expensive models.

iOS 12 Beta in June – Release in Q4 2018

Just like clockwork, around June we will get the developer (and later, public) beta for the next new iOS update for current and upcoming devices that will release in Q4 of 2018. Right now, iOS 12 rumours are locked down, mostly because software updates are much rarer to leak out of Apple headquarters, than their hardware.

It’s hard to guess what Apple will bring to iOS 12. I do hope we will see some additional features for Apple CarPlay in iOS 12. It’s disappointing when you look back to the features releases in iOS 11. Apple needs to try harder and most of all listen to consumer feedback.

Sorry, No Waze or Google Maps CarPlay Support

We will certainly not get apps like Google Maps or Waze in 2018, I am sorry to say. The way CarPlay works with your iPhone means it is just not possible. It would require a whole new way on how developers create CarPlay apps in order for apps, outside of audio streaming and VOIP apps, to be supported on the platform.

The only chance of this changing is in June, during Apple’s developer conference WWDC. If Apple announces new ways for developers to create CarPlay enabled apps, then we may see changes in the apps that support Apple CarPlay going forward.

I hope to write an article soon on how CarPlay apps actually work – Once you know this, you’ll soon understand why such apps haven’t appeared on CarPlay yet.

Improved Siri

I believe Apple will improve Siri in 2018, and as a result, this will also help with our interaction with Siri during CarPlay.

With the delay of Apple’s HomePod, it’s likely Apple is putting a lot of attention into voice control (via Siri) in their, rather expensive, home smart speaker. With heavy competition from Google and Amazon, Apple needs to up their voice-controlled game, with continued development of Siri. This in-turn will no doubt have a positive effect on CarPlay. This may appear as an iOS 12 feature, if not sooner, via updates of iOS 11.

Third-Party Wireless CarPlay Dongles

This is a little left-field, but I hope someone in 2018 will create a wireless dongle that connects to a lightning cable and turns your existing wired CarPlay system into a wireless one. Having played with an Android CarPlay dongle recently (my review is coming soon), it has to be possible, and I am sure once more wireless systems appear, the boffins over in China will work out a way, and we will soon see such dongles appear in the West.

It’s hard to say what will happen exactly over the next twelve months, but CarPlay will certainly evolve, improve and be more widely adopted than it is currently. It all begins next week, at CES 2018, bring it on!!


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