Next-generation Apple CarPlay will control more than media

Forget about iPhone vs Android, the next battle between Apple and Google will be played out in the car.

Announced this morning at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC), the next-generation of CarPlay will be integrated deeper into new cars than the current, phone-based system.

Along with the central infotainment display, the next-gen CarPlay system will integrate with the driver’s readout and supplementary screens used to control things like climate.

Owners will be able to customise their dials, for example, in the same way they can customise the face of an Apple Watch. Along with a typically clean, phone-inspired design, it looks like Apple has taken inspiration from older cars with analogue-style dials.

The update will also feature a more customisable infotainment home screen than before, with iPad-style widgets taking pride of place.

Apple says the system is designed to integrate with a range of screen shapes and sizes, not just landscape-oriented readouts, and has confirmed Jaguar Land Rover, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Nissan, Ford, Audi, Honda, Volvo, Renault, Infiniti, and Polestar are working to integrate the updated system in their next-gen vehicles.

The first cars featuring the system will debut late in 2023. It’s not yet clear if the system will be run solely from a phone, as is currently the case, or whether it’ll be integrated more deeply into the vehicle.

The Google rival to a more deeply-integrated CarPlay is Android Automotive. It’s already in use in Volvo, Polestar and Stellantis products, and is essentially the software base on which a manufacturer can build their own infotainment system.

It currently doesn’t support Apple CarPlay in Volvo and Polestar products, although the brand says that will change with an update.