Since its introduction, Apple's CarPlay platform has become widely used and is found in most new cars on the market today. Apple recently announced a "next generation" of CarPlay at WWDC, which is set to debut in new cars later this year. This new CarPlay interface will feature a completely redesigned look and offer a more immersive experience for users.
The current CarPlay interface has remained relatively the same since its rebranding from "iOS in the Car." The only major design change occurred with iOS 13, which introduced a new Dashboard interface with different cards for apps like Maps and Music. However, the upcoming CarPlay update will bring significant changes to the interface.
While we haven't had a chance to try out the new design, Apple's footage from WWDC provided a glimpse of what to expect. The new design still uses a grid of app icons as the primary UI element, but there are several other changes surrounding it. The interface will now feature a split view style, allowing users to display multiple apps simultaneously. Additionally, there will be a Dock at the bottom for quick access to recently used apps.
The most notable aspect of the new CarPlay interface is its ability to take over the entire infotainment system of a car, including the center console display and other displays behind the steering wheel. This provides a unified and consistent experience for users.
Apple also showcased mock-ups of the new design, demonstrating how it can adapt to different screen sizes and integrate with various car models. The interface appears modular, featuring different tiles and widgets for apps like weather and HomeKit.
One of the key enhancements of the "next generation" CarPlay is its deeper integration with a car's features and functionality. By communicating with the car's real-time system, CarPlay will have access to a wider range of controls, including climate control, fuel and battery levels, radio controls, and instrument panel data. This means that users can control these functions directly through the CarPlay interface without needing to use the car's native interface.
With this increased integration, the design changes mentioned earlier make more sense. Users can personalize their driving experience by choosing different instrument cluster designs and managing the instrument panel layout. Apple has crafted a range of instrument cluster designs, from modern to traditional, and there will be layout options for additional customization. Users can also adjust the fonts, font sizes, and font colors for different aspects of the interface.
The first cars with support for the next-generation CarPlay are expected to be announced in late 2023. Automakers, such as Land Rover, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Volvo, and Ford, have signed up to support this new CarPlay interface. However, the specific implementation and timeline for each automaker may vary. Apple plans to share more information about the next-generation CarPlay ahead of its official launch. Keep in mind that the design showcased at WWDC was a preview, and there may be changes before its release.
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