Brief musings on Carplay

Patrick J

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Original poster
Mar 12, 2009
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Oporto, Portugal
From watching the Volvo, Audi and Ferrari implementations, one thing that struck me was the poor implementation of a powerful software:

- Generally dismal hardware, specially the Ferrari (resistive touchscreen?). Software is also less than amazing: slow responsiveness, laggy scrolling.

- The "home button" is not in any easily reached place. It's just above the bottom left corner, and is in no place you could easily feel/touch/reach while keeping your eyes on the road (a physical hot corner, if I may). Why don't Apple keep the actual home button and demand this on cars?



One major thing that struck me is that this is Apple licensing their main operating system; one of the first things Steve did after taking over from Amelio was stopping the licensing system for the Mac OS at the time (or making the price prohibitively high).

Apple has given up complete control over the Hardware+Software experience on all devices iOS 7 runs on.
 
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madsci954

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Oct 14, 2011
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Ohio
Are they doing that? Carplay is just an overlay that sits on top of what the car manufacturer already installed. Apple still has absolute control of the interface and OS. After all, it's just remotely controlling your iPhone from the car touchscreen, with some features eliminated, for obvious safety reasons.
 

spyguy10709

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Apr 5, 2010
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One Infinite Loop, Cupertino CA
My thoughts -

From watching the Volvo and Ferrari implementations, one thing that struck me was the poor implementation of a powerful software:

- Generally dismal hardware, specially the Ferrari (resistive touchscreen?). Slow responsiveness, laggy scrolling.
1 - it's Unfinalized software, I think it will honestly be more responsive moving forward as Carplay is optimized.

And the resistive touchscreen is a 5-wire screen, which is nerdspeek for capacitive responsiveness without the finger-contact (works with driving gloves) - but the problem is, it's too expensive for many applications, so capactive screens are used.
- The "home button" is not in any easily reached place. It's just above the bottom left corner, and is in no place you could easily feel/touch/reach while keeping your eyes on the road (a physical hot corner, if I may). Why don't Apple keep the home button and demand this on cars? Image
I'll agree with you, but that's what great about software, you can learn as you go. That's the reason why the iPhone
One major thing that struck me is that this is Apple licensing their main operating system. One of the first things Steve stopped after taking over from Amelio was stopping the licensing system (or making the price prohibitively high). They have given up complete control over the Hardware+Software experience on all devices iOS 7 runs on.
You've got to be kidding me here. They're not licensing their "main operating system" - oh hang on, let me go to my car it's ringing.

They're making the car an iPhone accessory, think MadeForiPod, but much more complex. They haven't given up control on anything, as all hardware partners must design in coalition with Apple on their hardware, and the software cannot be modified.

In addition, they're not actually running any operating system software on the Cars. It's essentially AirPlay mirroring a special user interface with a touch input uplink back to the device, on what is now blackberry's QNX operating system. It's not mirroring what's going on directly on the phone screen, but think of it as the phone is mirroring a "fake" screen that isn't actually connected to the device, over the lightning cable. It's most akin to running iCloud in your web browser on Windows, in that the work is being done on Apple's end, but is showing up in an "app" on a different OS all together.
 

radiologyman

macrumors 6502a
Jul 23, 2011
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While I would love to see apple making an aftermarket double din carplay unit, I'm sure apple will not be making different units tailored to different cars. Likely decision to go with blackberry operating system was pushed by car manufacturers as apple competitors can use it too.
 

goobot

macrumors 603
Jun 26, 2009
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long island NY
They aren't licensing anything, you plug your iPhone in and you see it on a different screen, how is this any different than plugging you mac mini/pro into a dell display?
 

Patrick J

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Original poster
Mar 12, 2009
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Oporto, Portugal
Thank you for all the interesting points that were brought up.

I wasn't aware of the particularities of a 5 wire resistive screen. Obviously software will get better as time goes on.

Although I'm sure apple works closely with the car companies, I'm certain they can not dictate specific implementations across the multiple ranges or cars.

Gruber sums it up: "The Mercedes-Benz dashboard panel looks like a $50 drugstore Android tablet taped to the dashboard."

I still think it's a significant step for Apple, as they are not controlling the principle hardware interface you will use while interacting with iOS in the car.

I recognize that pushing Siri voice command could ultimate in one extreme totally eliminate the need for a GUI, however we are still some way away.

Could a solution just be to build an iPad into the dashboard (build the dashboard around the iPad?)? It seems to me the perfect hardware for iOS is already here.
 

Peepo

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Jun 18, 2009
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Hmmm.. this good reason for Apple to buy Blackberry ?

I don't know if I like this concept of having to physically connect my phone again via lightning connector. What I have now in my car (Ford Sync 2012 Focus) works good for calls and I can stream music/podcasts via bluetooth. Seems like having something not wireless is a step backwards. Also, does plugging it in disable usability of the iPhone screen I wonder? Apple could do this as safety feature so people aren't playing with their phones and are forced to use the vehicle interface.

Also, what happens when the iPhone is not plugged in? Does it revert back to a stock/basic system?
 

Altis

macrumors 68030
Sep 10, 2013
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It's CarPlay, not iOS 7 in the car. If it were, it'd look like this..



Touchscreens in the car are more attention-demanding that physical controls, especially those with an elevated screen. It's very difficult to use a touch screen without looking at it, and because it has to be kept within easy reach, it tends to be lower on the dash.

Hopefully there won't be any slow animations and gaps in touch response like in iOS 7. That would increase the amount of time spent staring at the screen, waiting for your next button to work.


Peepo, CarPlay runs like an app on top of the stock heat unit's operating system, so yes it would just revert back to that. And I suspect the phone will be locked out of controls while it's plugged in, but I'm not sure.