Apple Car overturns the concept of cars and starts with the software

The new integration platform between smartphone and car makes its debut at the Worldwide Developers Conference: now the Cupertino software also controls all the gear, gearbox and engine sensors, with the arrival of the first car of the bitten apple that becomes concrete

Gianluigi Giannetti

– Milan

Incredible but true, the preview of the long-awaited Apple Car has arrived, albeit in a completely unusual way and perhaps in the least predictable occasion to host it, the Worldwide Developers Conference, or the annual and now virtual conference dedicated to software developers which every year marks the presentation of the new operating systems and network services of the Cupertino company. Nothing strange appeared to the fans who followed the event in streaming until it was time to illustrate the features of the new version of iOS 16 dedicated to iPhones. It was here that Apple very casually announced the “next generation” of its CarPlay system, which since 2014 has distinguished the integration between apple smartphones and cars via cable or wireless connection only, with an area mainly linked to multimedia content and telephone services. hands-free call. Or at least, it was limited to that until now.

Debut behind the wheel

The first screen dedicated to Apple CarPlay 2022 made the automotive sector’s eyes widen the eyes. One image portrayed the whole of a dashboard populated by screens, but above all completely controlled by the Apple system. It is the confirmation of how far the Cupertino company has come forward in integrating vital systems and the entire electronic sensors of the car with the on-board electronics. During the presentation it was explained in detail that CarPlay has now become a complete platform capable of controlling multiple displays simultaneously, and above all exploiting them to offer the user the adjustments of devices very different from the audio ones, starting with the air conditioning system. . But there is much more, and it is true that the narrow image in the area of ​​the steering wheel demonstrates how Apple CarPlay completely replaces the original instrumentation of the car, offering a totally different graphic interface on the screen signed exclusively by Cupertino. There is a very deep integration with the diagnostics and the digital on-board network of the car, if it is true that Apple CarPlay displays the speedometer and gear of the automatic transmission, thus connecting to the engine and transmission, as well as fuel level, system temperature and, of course, any potential warning of a malfunction. Captivating, but also quite disruptive.

Surprise partner

The apparent naturalness of the story also passes from the answer to the most obvious question. Apple informs that the first car to support this new interface will be available starting in 2023 and that the list of car manufacturers ready to collaborate includes Ford and its American luxury brand Lincon, Infiniti, Honda and therefore Acura, Jaguar and Land Rover. , Audi, Nissan, Volvo, Porsche and Mercedes. Only apparent naturalness for companies that in recent years have made the development of their own user interface a real brand of recognition, as is the case of Mercedes with its Mbux. It is therefore clear that the driving force of Apple’s digital ecosystem may have had the better of solutions from individual manufacturers, never able to associate up to now, and therefore forced to sell large slices of income to Apple, with whom they will share the profits from the purchases of services and mobile applications made by motorists. A scheme that is already well established elsewhere, and which represents only the first stage of risk.

the real goal

While waiting for the technical information that will be made available in the coming weeks, CarPlay 2022 looks like a crossroads. On the one hand it can be considered a “skin”, a software overlay to the operating system already installed in the car, and as such it will be accepted in the large family of car manufacturers, because it is considered useful for attracting new customers in an apparently harmless way, even if the Google world he never went that far. The second horizon, however, is more challenging for traditional manufacturers. CarPlay 2022 now officially dialogues with the diagnostic control system and the digital sensors of the car, that is, it extracts data from the OBD and brings them back to a platform that can do it on its own, not being a skin but the main and unique system. CarPlay 2022 is actually the real preview of what we expected, that is the backbone and already visible of the long-awaited Apple Car, if it is true that Cupertino has literally overturned the way in which a car is made, starting from the ecosystem. of autonomous driving and related services to then find a level car manufacturer as a partner to assist in the realization of the mechanics. The actual debut moves from 2025 to 2028, but the new face of the Apple Car we are learning about already now.

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