Waiting For Apple CarPlay And Android Auto? We Hope You Brought A Book

April 29, 2015

In 2013, Apple introduced something called "iOS in the Car", an infotainment system that could run on dashboards, mimicking the screens of our beloved iPhones. Early last year -- nearly 14 months ago -- Apple renamed the product CarPlay and said that it would become available on Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz, and Volvo models within days.

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As AutoNews reports, however, reports of CarPlay's arrival have been greatly exaggerated. To date, it's only been made available on two Ferrari models, one costing about $200,000, the other, $300,000. 

And lest you think this is all the result of some anti-Apple bias, Google isn't having much better luck with its equally hyped Android Auto.

So, what's the hold up? There appear to be three big reasons:

1. Software concerns: This is perhaps the number one problem, and it's to be expected. Creating software that can interface between a phone and a car is no small task. Creating software that can do that safely at highway speeds only makes matters more complicated.

2. Hardware concerns: Apple is a pro at building software for phones -- but then again, it controls the design of those phones, too. Google's Android is open-source, meaning that handset makers can freely adapt it to their own devices without Google's input. But in the case of CarPlay and Android Auto, both tech giants are maintaining oversight of their products, and they're having to adapt them to a vast array of screens, knobs, sliders, and other controls. That takes time. 

3. Legal concerns: Just as lawyers wonder who's at fault when self-driving cars collide, they're also wondering who should bear the blame when something goes wrong with CarPlay or Android Auto. (We'd hope that the effects of an infotainment glitch are a little less severe than those on an autonomous car, but that won't stop people from suing -- they've certainly done so over Ford's MyFord Touch.) The question is whether Apple and Google will be willing to share responsibility for flaws.

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Hyundai looks to be the first mass-market automaker to offer one of these two products. The company says that remaining 2015 Sonatas will be available with Android Auto. Hyundai's sibling, Kia, will follow suit with the 2016 Optima.

Meanwhile, Apple says that 40 models from a range of car companies will be sold with CarPlay by the close of 2015, though it's not clear which models those might be. Acura, Honda, and Volkswagen are likely partners, though none have offered details. 

Are you excited about CarPlay or Android Auto? If not, were you ever? Will you shell out the extra dough to have them on your next car? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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