How the new iPhone 8 and iPhone X will improve Apple CarPlay

This week Apple pulled the covers off this year’s annual update to their very popular smartphone. This time around Apple revealed their iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus smartphones, along with a new 10th anniversary device – the iPhone X, which packs all the same features of the iPhone 8 Plus, but in an all new body and a suite of new and exclusive features to justify its hefty £999 starting price tag.

There was little mention of CarPlay during Apple’s media event, however Apple’s trio of devices pack features that will also enhance your CarPlay experience, so let’s take a look at what these are…

New iOS 11 Software

Pre-installed on new iPhones and releasing on Tuesday 19th September for any iPhone (5S or newer), existing iPhone owners will also be able to upgrade, for free, and enjoy Apple’s newest software update.

iOS 11 packs a small set of new CarPlay features. The majority of these features come part of app updates for Apple’s own apps, namely Music and Maps. Both of these apps come with some added functionality in iOS 11. Apple Music and Maps has had a slightly updated design, along with two major additions of Speed Limits and Lane guidance in Maps – both long overdue features in my opinion.

One iOS 11 feature that CarPlay owners will notice as soon as they get behind the wheel is Apple’s new Do Not Disturb While Driving feature. Activated by a mix of the device’s gyroscope, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi doppler effects, your phone will assume that you are driving and become locked down with restricted functionality. This is Apple’s attempt to help reduce any interaction with your device whilst you’re on the move.

If you’re just a passenger, then you have the option to tell your iPhone just that and resume normal functionality. Of course, you’re not going to lie and remove any restrictions whilst you’re behind the wheel, are you… Surely not! 😉

A11 Bionic Processor

Each year, Apple evolves the brains of its newest iPhones, and the new A11 Bionic CPU will certainly be no slouch. Packing 6 cores and 2GB of RAM (3GB on the iPhone X) the iPhone 8 and iPhone X are a powerhouse of computing technology. To compare, the A11 CPU is up to 70% faster than last year’s A10 CPU.

As we’ve learned in the past, a faster iPhone means a faster CarPlay experience. With your iPhone doing all the grunt work before it gets pushed up to your CarPlay display, a 6-core processor will compute and send that data to your CarPlay display faster than ever. How much faster is yet to be seen, but if you’re upgrading from a few iPhone generations back, you will certainly notice the difference in speed when launching apps, navigating between them, and the general use of CarPlay enabled apps.

Face ID (iPhone X)

As a CarPlay owner, you will know how regular you have to interact with your iPhone at some point during your connection to Apple’s CarPlay. This is mostly due to unstable apps, stuck functionality on launching an app (cough-Spotify), or maybe there’s an ad waiting for you to dismiss before the CarPlay app can truly function. Unlocking via Touch ID can prove to be distracting and cumbersome at times, depending on where exactly your iPhone is located in your car.

Face ID hopes to remove any touching of buttons, simply look at your phone, and within seconds your iPhone will be unlocked. Now, the location of your iPhone in the car will greatly differ your own experience of this new functionality, however drivers using dashboard mounts, vent cradles and the like, where the iPhone is high and can be angled towards you, you should find that with a simple tap of the screen to wake and unlock your iPhone will be a smooth and hassle free process.

Increased Battery Life (iPhone X)

iPhone X owners will relish the additional battery power they will receive whilst on the move. An additional 2 hours of extra battery, over the iPhone 7 model, will allow people who wirelessly stream Bluetooth audio to their in-car stereo extra running time, while anyone using Apple’s new wireless CarPlay mode will also like the extra 2 hours on Apple’s flagship device.

Wireless Charging

This isn’t a new feature for Android owners, but with wireless charging functionality coming to both the iPhone 8 and iPhone X, we will soon see increased support for wireless charging cradles, pads and bases for the home, office and more importantly in your car.

With Apple adopting the Qi standard of wireless charging, the new iPhones will be compatible with a wide range of existing and upcoming wireless charging mats and docks for the car. This ticks the missing box for anyone seeking a totally wireless CarPlay experience – I’m already browsing the current Qi wireless charging mats for my vehicle.

5.8” Display (iPhone X)

The iPhone X’s OLED Super Retina Display looks absolutely stunning. A wide 5.8-inch display, Apple’s biggest yet on a smartphone, features a rich display packed full of the latest OLED technology. This will allow for an even wider viewing angle, which is good if your iPhone is not facing directly at you, whilst the True Tone technology that comes to this year’s iPhones give you a more natural reading light that harmonises with your surrounding light.

How Apple’s True Tone technology will function in a car environment remains to be seen, but the display will adapt to lighting conditions in the vehicle and create an easier to read and less glaring display during the day, and a night too.

Not long to wait now…

With iOS 11 releasing in a matter of days, and the iPhone 8 and iPhone X going on sale on September 22 and November 3 respectively, whatever your budget stretches to, if you’re upgrading over the coming days, weeks or months, there are plenty of things to get excited about with this year’s flurry of Apple’s software and hardware updates.

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