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Despite being announced just over two years ago, CarPlay is only now becoming a built-in option in select new 2015 and 2016 vehicles by Chevrolet, Honda, Volkswagen and other car manufacturers. The in-dash system enables drivers to use Siri for hands-free access to Maps, Phone, Messages, Music, Podcasts and third-party apps such as Spotify, Rdio, iHeartRadio and MLB At Bat.

Corvette-CarPlay.jpg
CarPlay touchscreen on dashboard of 2016 Corvette Stingray (Image: WSJ)

With CarPlay starting to become a feature car buyers will be considering, Joanna Stern of The Wall Street Journal has published a timely review of CarPlay after testing the dashboard software inside a 2016 Corvette Stingray on a New York City road trip between midtown Manhattan and Rockaway Beach in Queens. Overall, she offered praise for CarPlay, but noted the service "isn’t a complete joyride" and lacks the useful functionality of some Google services.

Stern first noted a positive experience using Siri to control Apple Music and make requests:
But DJ Siri to the rescue! All week she has accurately taken my requests, playing them via Apple Music (but not Spotify or any other third-party apps). “Siri, Play ‘Little Red Corvette.’ ” “Siri, play me Madonna’s top songs.” “Siri, who sings this song?” She does it all—though I wouldn’t object if she were a tad faster.
She also gave high marks to CarPlay's messaging capabilities and Siri's accuracy at transcribing words:
Text-message integration is where CarPlay feels miles ahead of any competition from car makers or even Google. […] Siri was, surprisingly, better at helping me respond than Google’s built-in voice assistant. Siri accurately transcribed my words nearly every time. (She forgivably struggled a bit when I was driving with the roof down.)
On the contrary, Stern found Apple Maps to be inferior to Google Maps at providing routing based on traffic conditions:
When I got in the car to go to my friend’s baby naming, Apple Maps routed me through midtown Manhattan, showing a blissfully traffic-ignorant blue line all the way to the destination. Google Maps, however, knew that Park Avenue was closed. It routed me to the FDR Drive, on Manhattan’s east side. Ignoring Apple, and choosing Google’s route, I got there on time.
The review concluded that Apple's services are "stuck in the slow lane" compared to Google Maps and Google Now:
Siri also struggles when it comes to finding businesses. Sure, she can identify the closest gas stations, and she knows mega-retailers like Starbucks and Target. But when I told her to go to my favorite coffee shop in my New Jersey hometown, she found it… in Limerick, Ireland. Google knew what I was talking about right away.

Google Now might have even guessed I wanted to go there, even before I searched. Culling information from your email, calendar and Web searches, Google’s prediction-based assistant swings into action when you plug your Android phone into an Android Auto-equipped car. In addition to displaying core information like weather and reminders, it anticipates your next destination.
Nevertheless, Stern described CarPlay as the future of in-car technology and said that, if she were in the market for a car right now, she would add Apple's in-car software to her want list. The full-length review is a worthwhile read and provides a side-by-side comparison of CarPlay's maps, messaging, music, voice control and home screen features with Google's rival in-dash system Android Auto.

Article Link: CarPlay Praised as Wider Rollout Begins, but Lacks Smarts of Google Maps and Google Now
 
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bassrock

macrumors newbie
Oct 21, 2008
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San Jose
In my opinion the tab bar interface of Android Auto is a lot easier to navigate than the home button, new app interface of CarPlay. The home screen of the apps is nice on iPad and iPhone, but I think it is the wrong approach for the car and Android Auto has it right.

Also Android Auto, is more colorful which looks a step forward then the interface of CarPlay which looks like a step backward to the original iPhone before backgrounds were allowed.
 
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cariacou

macrumors 6502a
Jul 21, 2010
505
428
my ipad mini on the dashboard is just as good for $200 and can get upgraded every year for a modest price...

- - - - - - - - - - - -
for people who claimed carplay will be just as easy to update:
- software updates are free on any ios devices. and they WILL come earlier than software updates on carplay devices (3rd party hardware always comes last.. think about android...).
- hardware updates are ... hum.. very expensive for carplay. A $1k bulky device that requires tools to install/uninstall & that gets depreciated so quickly. you won't get much $ out of it when selling it.

the ipad mini, however, you can go by buying the new one and selling your old one every time a new one is released for about $100 out of pocket.
 
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jlc1978

macrumors 68040
Aug 14, 2009
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In my opinion the tab bar interface of Android Auto is a lot easier to navigate than the home button, new app interface of CarPlay. The home screen of the apps is nice on iPad and iPhone, but I think it is the wrong approach for the car and Android Auto has it right.

Also Android Auto, is more colorful which looks a step forward then the interface of CarPlay which looks like a step backward to the original iPhone before backgrounds were allowed.

Personally, I think the black background / apps display is a good human factors design. No background distractions when glancing down to select an app.

Personally, I'd like to see more car Play enabled apps such as Navigation Apps. Integrate it with voice commands for route selection would be useful as well. By using built in maps I avoid data charges while the App approach ensures I have the latest map revisions. Add in bluetooth camera integration an you could add backup and rear / forward looking cameras that can record as well. Radar detectors could be much ore stealthy as CarPlay would provide the display through the iPhone.
 
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Popeye206

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Sep 6, 2007
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Great. Now we're all gonna have to get a new car every two years.

Good one! :)

Personally, as soon as I find a replacement that looks like the OEM device in my car, I'm upgrading so it can use CarPlay. The radio is the only thing I hate about one of my cars and this would be an awesome upgrade.
 
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nagromme

macrumors G5
May 2, 2002
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Glad I don't live in NYC if Apple Maps doesn't know what traffic is doing. Bizarre: in my city, Apple Maps has been far superior, routing me around things that just happened, and finding places my Android friends cannot find using Google.

The best choice of maps seems to be a very local decision. And/or luck! (I.e., does Google ever screw up in NYC? Apple did once for the writer... is that a trend or an anecdote? An anecdote Google users never see? Or see less? Or ASSUME they see less?)
 
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nagromme

macrumors G5
May 2, 2002
12,546
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Great. Now we're all gonna have to get a new car every two years.

You have it backwards.

Previous car in-dash systems did not receive much if anything in the way of updates--until you buy a new car! (Or a new third-party head unit, maybe.) But with CarPlay, the brains are offloaded to phone software, which Apple can and does update WITHOUT buying a new car.
 
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vertical smile

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Sep 23, 2014
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Good one! :)

Personally, as soon as I find a replacement that looks like the OEM device in my car, I'm upgrading so it can use CarPlay. The radio is the only thing I hate about one of my cars and this would be an awesome upgrade.

I feel your pain. One horrible OEM radio I can think of is in my Wife's Mazda CX-5. It is so slow and buggy.

I think most OEM radios are slow, not user friendly and are usually outdated the second a new car model is in production. I read somewhere that new car models are designed about 6 years before they show up in the dealership. I wonder if the radios are designed around the same time too.

After market head units use to be a good answer to this, but now on a lot of cars, it is impractical or impossible to change the head unit because so many other non-music features are accessed from it.

Also, with the crazy shapes the car radios have now, it is hard to get good trim kits that look nice.
 
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macintologist

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May 3, 2004
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I prefer to mount my iPhone, pipe the audio through bluetooth and use it directly as my GPS, music player, etc. You can use whatever Maps app you want without having to worry about CarPlay compatibility, so I use Waze. You can use whatever Podcast app you want, whatever Music app you want, etc etc.
 
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nsayer

macrumors 65816
Jan 23, 2003
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Silicon Valley
Personally, as soon as I find a replacement that looks like the OEM device in my car, I'm upgrading so it can use CarPlay. The radio is the only thing I hate about one of my cars and this would be an awesome upgrade.

Unfortunately, the future is bleak. More and more sophisticated cars are moving more of the actual car functionality into the stereo/nav, meaning that it's not replaceable at all.
 
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2457282

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Dec 6, 2012
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If I owned a car I think this would be nice, but like the watch (which I do own) it is not essential. From a long play perspective, I can see this growing in features and eventually becoming the self-driven cars of the future. But it will take time to develop.

I am still waiting for BikePlay or SegwayPlay. :D
 
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FightTheFuture

macrumors 68000
Oct 19, 2003
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that town east of ann arbor
What a shock, Apple maps is still terrible compared to google maps

The most important thing about a car dashboard is the navigation, and I'm using google maps 100% of the time
Terrible is a pretty strong word considering millions of folks get by just fine with Apple Maps. Google Maps is better, no doubt - but Apple Maps is good too.
 
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gbc204

macrumors 6502
May 9, 2011
297
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Can you not use the Google Maps app in CarPlay?
And you can't use the screen on the phone when it's plugged in? That's kind of a deal breaker.
 
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