I spoke the other day about Tesla’s Model E, and how it could revolutionize car buying by bringing a technology to the masses that is currently for the wealthy at the moment. On that same day, Apple announced their CarPlay system, which was previously referred to as “iOS in the Car.” The integration would “iPhone-icize” the touchscreen interfaces that have become standard in most new cars, allowing for a deeper experience for the driving iPhone user.
Immediately, videos began to surface of carmakers showcasing CarPlay in their new automobiles. Volvo says the tech will be introduced in their XC90 model. Mercedes-Benz and Ferrari have also uploaded youtube videos of their interfaces built into their fancy cars. On the CarPlay website, Apple lists those three makers along with Jaguar, Honda and Hyundai as “available in 2014.” Neither Honda nor Hyundai has commented on the model at press time.
I own a Mazda2. At the time (October 2011), it was the cost-effective way to get myself in a new car. Today, I am on the verge of shopping again, this time for a Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra or an American mid-size sedan. My question is this:
Will the car I buy have, whether standard or as an option, access to the new CarPlay interface?
The XC90 version looks fantastic, but the starting price for the large Volvo SUV is $40,000. The Mercedes-Benz in question, the S-Class, starts at $92,000. The Ferrari costs twice as much as my house.
While Honda and Hyundai could come out today and say that they are putting CarPlay in their Civics and Elantras or all of their cars, I am going to guess that the new toy will not be available to the mass-market at start. Apple is careful at over-saturation and if carmakers can charge a premium for a feature that most people want (and who wouldn’t want an iPhone inspired interface in their car), they are going to do so.
So while I am excited that this feature is out there and Apple continues to expand it’s footprint on the technology world, I am hesitant to think that, barring a MegaMillions win or late-Aunt I’ve never met, I’m not going to be able to enjoy these new toys.
Prove me wrong car makers, please prove me wrong.