Your iPhone Will Be the Center Console in Volvo’s New Cars

Volvo Carplay
NEW YORK — Today at the New York International Auto Show, Volvo provided a live demo of how Apple’s CarPlay system — a newly developed in-car interface for the company’s iPhone 5, 5s, and 5c — will work in the company’s upcoming vehicles. In Volvo’s case, the CarPlay interface will function as an “alternative to Volvo’s own in-car infrastructure,” according to Volvo SVP of Sales, Marketing, and Customer Service Alain Visser.
 
CarPlay has deep interface tie-ins with Volvo’s steering-wheel-mounted buttons and its touchscreen dash panel;
 
CarPlay has deep interface tie-ins with Volvo’s steering-wheel-mounted buttons and its touchscreen dash panel; you can use the voice-control button on the steering wheel to launch Siri, for example, or navigate the system by tapping familiar-looking iOS icons on its 10-inch touchscreen. Starting with Volvo’s 2016 XC90 — a model that wasn’t on display at the show — CarPlay integration will eventually be available as an option for all cars in Volvo’s future lineups.
 
When you’re using CarPlay, the rest of Volvo’s in-car entertainment system essentially pauses. Volvo’s own in-car system consists of four horizontal tiles: One for GPS navigation, one for accessing music via Volvo’s own interface, one for selecting contacts and making calls over a Bluetooth connection with your phone, and a custom option which, in the case of the demo, defaulted to the CarPlay interface.
 
An iPhone 5, 5s, or 5c has to be physically plugged into the system via a Lightning connector in order for CarPlay to work; a Volvo spokesperson said that the company will have a well-thought-out system for connecting and cradling your iPhone built into the car. CarPlay isn’t built to work with Lightning-connector iPads or iPods, according to Apple’s Stephen Chick, who conducted the CarPlay demo
 
Tapping on the CarPlay “tile” expands the interface to use most of the car’s 10-inch display, but the system is designed to always give you access to certain controls: The current in-car temperature and air-conditioning/heating controls are always displayed at the bottom of the screen, for example, and are part of Volvo’s own system. The activated CarPlay interface pauses Volvo’s own maps, music, and phone options, as the iPhone’s own versions of those core apps are used instead.
 
When CarPlay is active, the screen displays two rows of iOS icons, and you can swipe between pages of apps. As part of the core CarPlay system, there’s a Phone app, a Music app, Maps, Messages (which supports texts and iMessages, but not, say, full e-mails), a “Now Playing” icon, and Podcasts. An on-screen home button sits to the left of those icons, as well as a signal-strength indicator and a time display. In-car app support exists on a case-by-case basis — including Spotify and Beats Music — and those apps will have to be rebuilt with CarPlay in mind. Apple’s Chick says that app support will only be considered for audio apps at this time.
 
There’s one particularly slick feature built in. If you receive a text message with an address included in it, the address will automatically show up in CarPlay’s “Destinations” queue within the Apple Maps interface. And while you can certainly navigate the CarPlay options using the touchscreen, it’s built with heavy reliance on Siri in mind. You can dictate messages, enter locations for the Maps feature, and launch apps by speaking commands to Siri.
 
The CarPlay system itself uses the iPhone’s own network connection for its services, making the entire process a true extension of the iPhone’s interface rather than a brand-new in-car OS. Depending on the car manufacturer, the entire experience will vary — Volvo spokespeople say they worked with Apple to develop the interface for their own cars, and with so much variation between in-car display sizes and infotainment systems, the way the CarPlay UI looks and feels within each car’s OS should be different. For iPhone owners and the increasingly large amount of people who use their mobile devices as the center of their own data universe, it looks like CarPlay should be a characteristically intuitive plug-and-play environment.
 
(Source: wired.com & Volvo)

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22 Jul 2018 - 16:18

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