Enhance Your Driving Experience Without Risking Your Safety

There’s a new infotainment sheriff in town, and it goes by the name of Apple CarPlay. You may not have heard of it yet, but it’s actually been an outstanding feature on the $300,000 2014 Ferrari FF since the model debuted at the 2013 Geneva Auto Show.

Soon a whole range of manufacturers will be creating models that come with Apple CarPlay, including Audi, Cadillac, Chevrolet, DS Automobiles, Ford, GMC, Honda, Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi Motors, Peugeot, Porche, Seat, Suzuki, VW, and Volvo. Most of these models won’t be appearing on the market until Spring of this year, and many of them aren’t scheduled to become viable options until 2017.

carplay2That means that, besides owners of the Ferrari FF, most of us are confined to the Apple CarPlay waiting room. But how do you know if you truly want a car with Apple CarPlay?

Well one of the coolest things about this new service is that it brings the user-friendly and hammered-out nature of the Apple operating system to the central console of your car, making your infotainment experience that much easier and more familiar, and easier to synch with your smartphone which, if you’ve been participating in our modern times, likely holds your entire life.

What you should prepare for is the fact that once you plug your smart device’s Lightning cord into the port at your center console, you’re not making a fully mirrored car-to-smartphone experience happen for yourself. Oh no, Apple CarPlay makers are very aware of the fact that a lot of your smartphone’s features (web browsing capabilities, email sending, really anything that has to do with writing and reading for prolonged amounts of time) are inappropriate and dangerous for use while driving.

That means when you plus your smartphone into the hub, you’ll only have access to limited range of apps on your center console’s touchscreen; and for those apps that do work, their features will be adjusted based on what Apple has judged is safest to use while driving. Spotify and other music streaming apps have made the list, for example, but you will only be able to scroll through pre-made playlists when you’re looking for music to play. Searching new music does not count as an in-car capability.

apple carplauyText-addicts will be happy to hear that the Messages app still works, though you can’t open your texts or use a keyboard to respond to them. Instead, Siri will notify you when you receive a text and ask if you would like it to be read aloud (a smart feature, considering you may have your grandmother or your date in the drivers seat). If you do have her read it for you and want to respond, you can dictate a message and have her send it to any recipient.

That’s how Apple is trying to make driving multitasking safer; allow people to satisfy their curiosities without taking their hands and eyes off the wheel. The only drawback? Google Maps just happens to be incompatible with Google CarPlay, so if you want to use a functional GPS system… I guess buy one separately.

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