In the picture above, Apple Chairman Arthur D. Levinson looks on during the Ferrari presentation at the Geneva Motor Show. Ferrari is just one of several auto manufacturers who are offering cars with Apple’s CarPlay system installed.
The CarPlay system allows drivers to use Siri to pull up music, get directions, or make a phone call. If you’re thinking about getting a new car with CarPlay functionality, you should read these reviews first.
1. Jalopnik: ‘The System Works Just Fine’
The Bloomberg video above reviews the relationship between Volvo and Apple.
The review states:
“Volvo’s beautiful Concept Estate is mostly here to show the world two new things: the Swedish brand’s next generation interiors and Apple’s new system in the middle of them that replaces the buttons with a giant touchscreen and lets you use all the apps and functions you like on your iPhone, hands-free in your car…
Despite this being pretty much a beta version, the system works just fine. The icons are massive and if you know how to use an iPhone or an iPad, you’ll enjoy this giant version too while being surrounded be Volvo’s fantastic new materials.”
2. iMore: ‘Awful Resistive Touchscreen’
— aharpaz (@aharpaz) March 5, 2014
iMore‘s review of CarPlay focused on Ferrari’s implementation of the technology. Unfortunately, the touchscreen in the Ferrari version isn’t up to snuff. They write:
“While it works just like the systems in Volvo and Mercedes cars, it appears that the Ferrari system also utilizes a resistive touchscreen, which requires users to press firmly to register touches. CarPlay is integrated into the exisitng Ferrari dashboard setup, allowing users to choose between CarPlay and the Ferrari infotainment system.”
Having to press firmly could make this version of CarPlay harder to use in real world driving conditions.
3. Popular Mechanics: ‘An Excellent Place to Start’
Popular Mechanics went hands-on with CarPlay in the Mercedes-Benz C-Class 2015. The review praised the ease of use when plugging in an iOS device, but panned the “tedious” turn-to-scroll controls.
The review concludes:
“Though the integration of personal electronics into automotive environments started years ago with simple iPod connectivity, the holistic approach offered by Apple’s CarPlay has been a considerably longer journey, one that will soon become ubiquitous among carmakers. As our Apple rep told us, ‘We want to work with as many car companies as possible.’
While the holy grail of multimedia integration is a completely seamless connection between cell phone and car that has yet to be fully realized, CarPlay succeeds in closing much of the gap between the devices, delivering Apple’s famously slick interface through the familiarity of the vehicle’s nav screen.”
4. New York Times: ‘Almost a Step in the Right Direction’
The New York Times review of CarPlay raises some interesting questions. The review notes:
“Be very wary of buying a car with a hard-wired, proprietary phone integration solution, unless you plan to keep both the car and the phone for a very long time. I don’t know if you have noticed, but Apple does not really encourage you to hang onto phones for very long.”
The review goes on to praise the fact that CarPlay allows drivers to access their phone maps, which are usually more up-to-date than in-car GPS systems. However, the review questions how well CarPlay-enabled cars will age, particularly if Apple stops using Lightning connectors for their devices.
5. CNET: ‘CarPlay Worked Seamlessly’
CNET focused on the Mercedes-Benz integration of CarPlay. The review gave CarPlay high marks for the music interface, but noted that it was hard to add new stations to your favorites list in iHeartRadio.
The review stated:
“Making phone calls was as simple as saying a contact’s name, although the interface also included an onscreen keypad. Text messaging was more interesting, the interface will not show any text messaging. For incoming or outgoing texts, Siri reads them out loud, preventing driver distraction. There is no way to compose a text other than through voice command…
CarPlay worked seamlessly during the demonstration. There were lag times waiting for external data to load, but the main functions and interface were all extremely quick. In the C-class, there was also an icon on the screen that let me switch back to the car’s native navigation, audio, and phone functions.”