Apple CarPlay, is a new auto infotainment system in cars has just arrived in the Indian Market.
I will be testing the new system today in the Maruti Suzuki Ciaz.
CarPlay was introduced with the iPhone 5 in iOS 7 and today has evolved to support a limited range of 3rd party apps like Spotify. This review will be of the Wired CarPlay system. The CarPlay is integrated with the stereo and the steering controls. If we look at the current scenario, in India, only certain select models have this feature and thus, it is a very niche product. It is also very limited, since Apple does not provide the maps feature in the Indian market and makes the system very limited. Still, the integration with Siri and the overall concept does make it very useful, if you have an iPhone.
First, the applications. There are apps for
Phone, Messages, Music, Podcasts, Audiobooks and a Now Playing section .
The phone app showcases a similar screen with the different options like Favorites and recent calls, just like your iPhone screen. The incoming calls on the CarPlay screen allow for you to do everything you would on your iPhone, including starting conference calls. The system allows you to use many features of your iPhone’s phone app in the car.
The messages app is really weird, and only showcases your last messages. If you need to reply to any message, just like the Apple Watch, you will have to take the help of Siri. In poor cellular integration areas in Delhi, Siri just stops working and thus, it is impossible to reply. 3rd party messaging apps like Messenger or WhatsApp are still not supported.
The now playing app shows music or video data and is an indirect way to support 3rd party audio applications, with the music and volume controls on screen and on the steering wheel.
The music, podcast and audiobook apps mirror the ones on the iPhone and show all the tabs and includes integration with Apple Music. The podcasts app provides updates with latest entries while the audiobooks is an offshoot of the iBooks app, showing the supported audiobooks to be played through the cars audio system.
There is also support for 3rd Party apps. I tested Spotify and saw very good support for 3rd party apps. Only 3rd party audio related apps exist for the Apple CarPlay.
On the sidebar, it showcases vital stats like the signal strength, the cellular network and the type of internet connection being used and the current time displayed on the iPhone.
Overall, I have used CarPlay and have felt that is a huge step from Apple to integrate iPhones into automobiles.There is one down sight though, there is always a problem with CarPlay integrating with the audio from iPhone calls and it does not work. This could be specific to my unit, but in general, it has a lot of bugs that need to be amended before calling it a “polished” apple product.