CarPlay CarPlay questions

stanw

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Aug 29, 2007
841
5
1. Does CarPlay get updated in the car or only on the phone?

2. When using CarPlay, is there a mic in the car that listens for “hey Siri” that does a better job than the mic in my iPhone that never seems to hear me when I’m driving?

Thanks
 

gwhizkids

macrumors 603
Jun 21, 2013
5,459
5,138
1. Does CarPlay get updated in the car or only on the phone?

2. When using CarPlay, is there a mic in the car that listens for “hey Siri” that does a better job than the mic in my iPhone that never seems to hear me when I’m driving?

Thanks
CarPlay (as seen from the car manufacturers’ perspective) is to provide the ability to display Apple’s CarPlay interface (i.e., a suitable display) and to interact with it (e.g., touch or peripheral input to navigate the interface and make selections). The manufactures don’t provide the interface,but rather the “vessel” in which it is housed.

CarPlay, itself, as software, is completely on your phone. Any features Apple that were to add would be in iOS, not in the vehicle’s own firmware. That’s not to say that the manufacturers can’t improve their interface firmware or improve input technology but that’s independent of the iOS CarPlay feature-set.

Regarding the mics: most cars in which I’ve used CarPlay do a pretty decent job of catching your input. Most will use noise reduction tech to reduce road/engine/wind noise, and will also turn down the radio and HVAC fan to present the lowest possible ambient noise signature while you are speaking. The mic is also usually located just over your head to be as close as possible. They are not as capable as the HomePod is but do a pretty good job considering the environment they’re operating in. Also, in most cases you push a button in the steering wheel to activate listening (though you can use “hey Siri” as well).
 
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danmart

macrumors 65816
Apr 24, 2015
1,173
643
Lancs, UK
Further to item 1, it only needs to be updated in the phone unless some kind of exceptional change occurred. All the software in the car does is basically handle the screen display, audio output and mic. All the heavy lifting is done on the phone.
 
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seezar

macrumors regular
Jan 18, 2018
132
98
Most vehicles with CarPlay have a voice button on the steering wheel that will activate Siri. Much easier than having to say "Hey Siri" when there is excessive road noise or music is playing. Even aftermarket CarPlay systems can be mapped to the steering wheel button (if the car has one)
 
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stanw

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Aug 29, 2007
841
5
It seems that lots of 2019 cars out there are still not using CarPlay but offer their own system that they tell me does the same thing, not sure how true this is....Ford has their own system, Jaguar, I think Volvo, Lincoln. At the end of the day, if I am able to connect my iPhone to my car and it uses some other system to show me messages, maps, and lets me dictate emails and messages, what am I missing out on?

Thanks.
 

danmart

macrumors 65816
Apr 24, 2015
1,173
643
Lancs, UK
The main thing is the nav, in my opinion. Your mobile nav app will have more up to date maps and algorithms than anything in your car head unit (with the possible exception of the new wave of devices that have Android built in).
 

cynics

macrumors G4
Jan 8, 2012
11,334
1,708
It seems that lots of 2019 cars out there are still not using CarPlay but offer their own system that they tell me does the same thing, not sure how true this is....Ford has their own system, Jaguar, I think Volvo, Lincoln. At the end of the day, if I am able to connect my iPhone to my car and it uses some other system to show me messages, maps, and lets me dictate emails and messages, what am I missing out on?

Thanks.
The two things that immediately come to mind are integration and head unit and sound quality minimum requirements.

CarPlay is using a lot of your phones features such as Maps, Messages, Siri, mail, etc all displayed as simply as they are on your phone with a nice UI.

The minimum requirements for CarPlay integration is sometimes more than the auto manufacture wants to spend. For example wired input is LPCM. Output has to be 48khz 16 bit. You need a fairly high res screen, steering wheel controls, 25khz 16 bit input. etc. Plus there is programming required for the existing software, for example if CarPlay is disconnect audio has to stop, not go back to the auto manufacturers audio. Basically with CarPlay you are getting a reasonable decent head unit, input devices (controls and mic) at the bare minimum.
 

Julien

macrumors G4
Jun 30, 2007
11,152
3,858
Atlanta
....Plus there is programming required for the existing software, for example if CarPlay is disconnect audio has to stop, not go back to the auto manufacturers audio....
When I disconnect my car's system starts playing in BT (same track). This is what I always use when not plugged in to CarPlay. Will switch it to FM and see what it doses.
 

cynics

macrumors G4
Jan 8, 2012
11,334
1,708
When I disconnect my car's system starts playing in BT (same track). This is what I always use when not plugged in to CarPlay. Will switch it to FM and see what it doses.
This is just what is "supposed to happen". Apple can't control what actually happens.

Screen Shot 2019-03-10 at 6.59.53 AM.png

Thats from WWDC16 though so a lot may have changed since then.
 

bluespark

macrumors 68000
Jul 11, 2009
1,860
1,997
Chicago
It seems that lots of 2019 cars out there are still not using CarPlay but offer their own system that they tell me does the same thing, not sure how true this is....Ford has their own system, Jaguar, I think Volvo, Lincoln. At the end of the day, if I am able to connect my iPhone to my car and it uses some other system to show me messages, maps, and lets me dictate emails and messages, what am I missing out on?

Thanks.
In general, car manufacturers are better at making cars than they are at making operating systems, digital assistants, and apps. My 2018 vehicle has a decent on-board system, but it really pales when compared to CarPlay. The CarPlay version of Apple Maps is fantastic in my view, and I love that it's integrated with my calendar (so a pop-up offers directions to my next event without any additional interaction needed on my part). And as bad as Siri is, she's still smarter than the girl who lives in my dashboard.

But YMMV. If you're happy with what your car is giving you -- and they're getting better generally -- then maybe CarPlay doesn't give you much you didn't already have.