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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Page 52 of 139

model years they represent. 2014 and 2015 were very tepid but 2016 and 2017 saw huge leaps in adoption. Since then there has been a steady filling out of support. At this point in time about 600 car models support CarPlay which is very nearly all the models available in the US market and a substantial number for the markets where the iPhone is widely used. So is CarPlay significant and can it provide control? On the control side the answer is a tentative yes. CarPlay creates an iOS bubble in the car and it sustains the iPhone ecosystem with no incursions by alternatives likely. [Android Auto which seems to have a similar degree of adoption does the same for Android but there is no “pull” of switchers from one to the other.] Anecdotally, CarPlay support has become a hygiene issue with carmakers. Having it offers few advantages but not having it may repel users. On the significance question, the answer should be “it depends”. The support seems substantial but it’s hard to assess market share of models as a complete list of car models available is not easily obtained. Apple has effectively injected software in a lot of cars and done so relatively quickly. By licensing it has amplified its reach much in the way Microsoft did with Windows and the Intel PC in the 90s. The speed is remarkable because everything in the car industry happens very slowly. More than 1000 licensed car models in 4 years. This is quite a feat. But the software touches only a fragment of the car. Infotainment is important, perhaps more than anything else the user perceives about the car experience. But it has not changed what the car is. It has not made driving safer nor more productive or more efficient. Messaging and calling and mapping/navigation notwithstanding, significance needs to be measured in more important terms. The iPhone is significant precisely because an iPhone is not a Phone. The Apple Watch is significant because it’s not a Watch. AirPods are significant because they are not just acoustics. CarPlay would be significant if it made the car something it isn’t and not keep the car being what it is. We know it should be something else and that is what we are all waiting for.

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