MacDirectory Magazine

Rachel Gray

MacDirectory magazine is the premiere creative lifestyle magazine for Apple enthusiasts featuring interviews, in-depth tech reviews, Apple news, insights, latest Apple patents, apps, market analysis, entertainment and more.

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Significant Contribution Again Horace Dediu ( Five years ago I used the Cook Doctrine (put forward 12 years ago) to assess the possibility of Apple’s entry in the car market. That doctrine states, among other things: We believe that we need to own and control the primary technologies behind the products we make, and participate only in markets where we can make a significant contribution. - Tim Cook I concluded that it was not a question of if, but of how and to what degree Apple could make a significant contribution. How in terms of control of the technology and to what degree in terms of significance of contribution. It was a tough call five years ago and it’s still a tough call today. Arguably the failure of initial efforts to meet the Cook doctrine have caused resets and reboots and pivots which means no entry is visible in the near future. But there is another effort that Apple has undertaken in the automotive space which might be indicative of their intentions and capabilities. This is an effort that hardly gets mentioned and was dismissed as immaterial a long time ago but I would argue it has made a contribution. It’s also unique for Apple in being a licensed software technology made available to hundreds of licensees and extending a software and services strategy to non-Apple hardware. I am speaking, of course, of CarPlay. CarPlay was announced almost exactly 6 years ago. It implements a unique division of labor between the iPhone and the on-board hardware. A division that keeps most of the computation and data on the phone but displays and allows inputs through the car. As a result it can evolve with new versions of iOS while keeping car inputs and outputs functional even when they age well beyond the lifespan of several iPhone generations. It can be argued that CarPlay is a necessary “connector” for the iPhone for that one hour a day that many iPhone users spend in their cars. It is effectively a better way to control the iPhone and have it be the “brains” of the infotainment system. In that regard it’s very similar to Apple TV: controlling the “dumb” TV without having to be a screen. The difference here is that CarPlay does not need an Apple remote. But how is this significant? It improves things, sure. It improves most in-car experiences related to making calls, music, navigation, calendar, messaging, podcasts and news. It also seems to have traction. The measure of any product introduction should be adoption and in that regard CarPlay could also be seen as significant in its departure from the Apple play book. Because the adopters are not users but carmakers, the decision to deploy it depends on it being licensed and put into cars that are produced and made available. Quite a different set of hurdles, these are the “orifices” that Steve Jobs famously riled against. One of the aspects of adoption by institutions vs. adoption by consumers is that whereas consumers are influenced by an early adopter calculus followed by the observation and imitation of others, for institutions there is a long delay with indecision followed by a rush to do adopt in unison with competitors. In other words, the adoption curve for consumers is a continuous gradual uptake whereas for institutions it’s a flat line followed by near-vertical step function. We can see this with the following graph showing the number of car models supporting CarPlay for the

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