For tech lovers that can’t let go of their phone, Apple and Mercedes-Benz have teamed up at the Geneva Motor Show to unveil CarPlay. Now you’ll be able to have access to all your apps right on your Mercedes-Benz dashboard.
First announced at Apple’s Developers Conference back in 2013, iOS in the car perfectly integrates your iPhone and car to provide Apple users and Mercedes-Benz drivers seamless, hands-free integration of their mobile operating system via your Mercedes-Benz infotainment console.
Greg Joswiak of Apple introduced CarPlay during the Geneva Motor Show with the redesigned Mercedes-Benz C-Class, giving users an overview of their software and user interface as a way for iPhone users to have “…their content at their fingertips…” while maintaining minimized distraction.
Connecting your iPhone though a USB port, CarPlay essentially mirrors an iPhone’s apps and functions through the Mercedes-Benz COMAND controller allowing drivers to utilize Siri voice commands with CarPlay.
Navigation directions merely require a user to ask Siri about their desired location, which then uses Apple Maps to provide routing directions as well as real-time traffic information for your routes.
Siri also provides simple use of in car calls by saying a contacts name. Continuing with driver safety in mind, incoming messages with Apple CarPlay along with Mercedes outgoing text messages are composed via voice by Siri.
The C-Class, which CarPlay was demonstrated on, also allowed for users to switch back to the native Mercedes-Benz navigation and phone features that are provided by the manufacturer.
Similar to the App store process with developers, it seems Apple for now will maintain their control of approval for apps used in the CarPlay ecosystem, unless we see manufacturers request specific apps they feel will improve their consumer’s driving experience.
Mercedes-Benz currently has plans to rollout the 2014 C-Class with CarPlay functionality. With a similar infotainment system in the redesigned S-Class, there are rumors both vehicles will have CarPlay available.
We reported earlier this year about the partnership between Mercedes-Benz with Pebble SmartWatch and Nest Labs at CES in Las Vegas, and the subsequent acquisition of Nest Labs by Google the week after.
Mercedes also rolled out Google+ integration to allow drivers to access their Google+ profile and post in car updates. This has allowed Google to position themselves to be one of the first tech companies to be fully immersed in the tech aspect driving experience for Mercedes-Benz owners.
Mercedes-Benz will continue to move onto the integration of social and productive functionality in their vehicles as they progress to autonomous driving.
The pressure on Apple seems to have moved them quickly to release CarPlay, even with some dissension between Apple executives unsure of exactly what to do with the iOS in the CarPlay program. This is a clear win for Mercedes-Benz owners as both companies fight for dominance in this market.
Mercedes-Benz has made it clear they are not limiting their customers to one infotainment system or data provider. Continuing with their Google Android integration, and demonstrating the ability for users to switch between the vehicles native infotainment system, informs consumers that Mercedes has only the best in mind for in car integration for their consumers.
Mercedes also announced new progress with their Drive Kit Plus and Digital DriveStyle APP that users integrate through their smartphone. Dr. Thomas Weber of Mercedes-Benz explained to consumers, “We offer our customers an ideal in-car infotainment system. We are constantly developing the connected car with the latest technologies available, so that every Mercedes-Benz driver can use their smartphone in the car in full comfort and safety.”