Apple CarPlay and the Future of In-Car Entertainment Systems

Last week, Apple introduced CarPlay: “a system for converting your vehicle’s in-car entertainment system into an iOS-powered dashboard fed content and brains by your phone.” The long list of manufacturers who will support it by this year is impressive and I assume the rest of the car manufacturers will support it soon as well. Additionally, as Ford has said it will do, most car manufacturers will probably end up supporting all phone operating systems and be mostly device agnostic.

My car's entertainment system featuring a state-of-the-art cassette player!

My car’s entertainment system featuring a state-of-the-art cassette player AND a CD player!

Turning the built-in dashboard display over the the phones makes so much sense. First and foremost, safety. By using the display for navigation or for scrolling through contacts to call or selecting music, drivers can avoid looking at the smaller screen of their phone.  Second, the phone provides instant connectivity and opens up the entertainment system to apps and ensures that it’s always up to date.

But the most compelling reason for car manufacturers to allow phones to take over their entertainment system is simply the ability to have an up-to-date system even if the car is several years old. American consumers buy a car every 5-8 years but they buy a new phone every 22 months. Supporting multiple phone platforms and being device agnostic ensures that the entertainment system will “new” for the car’s lifetime.

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