Verdict on Apple CarPlay

We get hands on with new software that turns your car into an iPhone

Apple CarPlay

After waiting patiently for a demo of Apple's CarPlay software in a new Mercedes C-Class at the Geneva Motor Show, we're turfed out of the passenger seat because a 'VIP' is on the way. To be fair, it was Dr Zetsche, Mercedes CEO, who was desperate for a go.

"It's great, beautifully integrated. Is it a revolution? Not quite, we already had iPhone connectivity, but it's definitely the next step," Zetsche told us as he climbed out.

I'd have to disagree. Forget 'mirror link' systems that claim to mimic your phone's display in your car, this is a system developed by Apple to be as familiar as possible to anyone that's ever used an iPhone. As a result it looks, feels, sounds and operates exactly like an iPhone, just on a larger portrait screen.

The idea is you update your iOS 7 software for free, then buy a CarPlay enabled car from a variety of manufacturers beginning later this year. Plug in your iPhone 5, 5c or 5s via the USB socket and you're away.

The home screen features the same, chunky, square icons your used to - click on one and the sub menus have the same names and feel as your phone. The big difference here is that Siri voice control is at the core of the whole experience.

For example, get a message on the move and it will read it out to you as let you dictate a response. Shout out a destination and the Apple Maps app with direct you there with smooth 3D maps using the 3G or 4G connection from your phone. It even scans your latest texts and e-mail for addresses and locations to bring up suggested destinations.

Scrolling through your music folders feels as slick as you'd expect, complete with album artwork, and if you have a subscription to Spotify you can stream any song you like on the move.

OK, so you can argue that none of the features are particularly revolutionary, but the fact that anyone who owns an iPhone could soon have a beautifully integrated infotainment system in their car, complete with sat-nav, voice-control and internet connectivity most certainly is. 

Recommended

2022 Geneva Motor Show cancelled due to ongoing Covid-19 pandemic
Geneva
Geneva Motor Show

2022 Geneva Motor Show cancelled due to ongoing Covid-19 pandemic

Geneva show cancelled for three years running but hope for 2023 return remains
7 Oct 2021
Geneva Motor Show to launch Qatar exhibition in 2022
Geneva Motor Show
News

Geneva Motor Show to launch Qatar exhibition in 2022

Geneva Motor Show heads to the middle east with a spin-off event planned in Doha every two years from 2022 or 2023
25 Aug 2021
New Koenigsegg Gemera is a four-seat, 1,700bhp, £1.4m hypercar
Koenigsegg Gemera
Koenigsegg Gemera

New Koenigsegg Gemera is a four-seat, 1,700bhp, £1.4m hypercar

The limited-edition Koenigsegg Gemera is a rival for the McLaren GT, but with almost three times as much power
17 Aug 2021

Most Popular

What are 4D number plates and are they legal?
Ross Hollis at perfectlyprintedplates.com
Tips & advice

What are 4D number plates and are they legal?

Everything you need to know about so-called ‘4D’ number plates, including whether you’re allowed to have them on your car
25 Jan 2022
Best electric cars to buy 2022
Best electric cars
Electric cars

Best electric cars to buy 2022

There are more electric cars than ever to choose from, so we've picked some of the best you can buy in the UK now
10 Jan 2022
New 2022 Lamborghini Countach LPI 800-4 hits the road for the first time
Lamborghini Countach - front
Lamborghini Countach

New 2022 Lamborghini Countach LPI 800-4 hits the road for the first time

Lamborghini’s reborn Countach pictured on the move ahead of it arriving with customers
25 Jan 2022