Apple unveils software for cars with Ferrari,
Volvo and Mercedes-Benz


Apple has teamed up with Ferrari, Volvo and Mercedes-Benz to develop software for cars allowing iPhones to be connected up and controlled via a second screen in the entertainment system.

Using Apple's CarPlay software, drivers will be able to use Apple Maps as in-car navigation, as well as listen to music and watch films. Additionally, calls can be made through CarPlay, which will be controlled by the Siri voice recognition platform. It's the first time Apple has developed software explicitly for use in cars.

Apple unveils CarPlay software with Ferrari Volvo and Mercedes-Benz
This image: courtesy of Mercedes-Benz. Main image: courtesy of Volvo

The system was unveiled at this week's Geneva Motor Show, held annually in the Swiss city.

When users connect their iPhone 5, 5c, or 5s via a USB cable, apps found on the phone appear on the vehicle's inbuilt screens. The phone can then be controlled through the car's controls instead of the phone's. Apple believe it will make cars smarter and safer to drive.

Apple unveils CarPlay software with Ferrari Volvo and Mercedes-Benz
Image courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

"CarPlay has been designed from the ground up to provide drivers with an incredible experience using their iPhone in the car," said Greg Joswiak, vice president of iPhone and iOS product marketing at Apple.

CarPlay accesses recent destinations looked up on your iPhone, as well as those mentioned in emails and text messages. From there, it can anticipate where you'd like to go, and then provide turn-by-turn directions, live traffic information and estimated time of arrival.

Apple unveils CarPlay software with Ferrari Volvo and Mercedes-Benz
Image courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

"iPhone users always want their content at their fingertips and CarPlay lets drivers use their iPhone in the car with minimised distraction," continued Joswiak.

With its messaging service, texts will be read out via Siri, allowing the driver to reply using voice commands.

Apple unveils CarPlay software with Ferrari Volvo and Mercedes-Benz
Image courtesy of Apple

Car buyers are expected to be able to purchase vehicles equipped with Apple's software later this year. The system will be compatible with new cars from Mercedes, Volvo and Ferrari. Honda, Hyundai and Jaguar are expected to add CarPlay-enabled cars to their ranges.

The move means developers will be able to build apps specifically for use in cars. A select number of third-party apps including Spotify, iHeartRadio and Beats Radio will be made available for the product's launch.

Apple unveils CarPlay software with Ferrari Volvo and Mercedes-Benz
Image courtesy of Apple

The announcement by Apple brings them into direct competition with Google in the race to become the industry standard for in-car software systems. The search engine giant launched its own purpose-built Android-based car system initiative earlier this year called the Open Automotive Alliance (OAA).

Working alongside Audi, General Motors, Honda and Hyundai the OAA aims to enable developers to easily add car-specific modes to their apps.

Apple unveils CarPlay software with Ferrari Volvo and Mercedes-Benz
Image courtesy of Apple

Microsoft is also working on a similar system in partnership with Ford, making cars the latest battleground for IT giants looking to gain a foothold in a lucrative new market.

  • Ivan

    Finally! Have been waiting for this for so long.

  • Just a Guy

    This doesn’t fill me with confidence. Apple have a long history of making products that only work really well with their own products and typically have compatibility issues with everything else.

    Great for encouraging people to buy more Apple products, but for those of us who don’t find their products particularly inspiring and overpriced it’s extremely off-putting. If they address this issue and accept that not everyone wants to have an iPhone and a Volvo then fine, but I fear that people will lose out on functionality of their cars if they don’t buy into the Apple ecosystem.

    The Google alternative doesn’t have this fear for me, due to their open policy for supporting all hardware.

  • nick

    At last!

  • LOW

    Getting lost in style.

  • Guest.

    Just don’t make it integral. Before long the updates will dry out and the owners will end up with a useless, blank touchscreen. Tech development will always outpace automotive industry.

    Ah who cares. I see no modern cars worthy of being classics in 40 years’ time anyway. They’re all meant to be scrapped and replaced with new ones. Not like the cars from the 30s and 60s.

  • Businessgypsy

    Building a temporary OS and interface into the integral system of a giant vehicle? Funny! A simple power plug and OBD-II connector would let you change device and OS as they evolve. I retrofitted my MB Sprinter with this, works beautifully.

  • joris

    It will all be beautiful and easy and awesome and you’ll love it, and after 3 years you will be unable to start your car because there is no more software available although you payed top dollars every year for a mandatory update. Please buy your new Volvo now.

    “Hey, that’s a great platform for commercial messages!”

    Carplay will make your Facebook and movie experience at the wheel so much safer.

    Connecting cars to phones and everything else online will turn out to be such a mistake, just for the sake of selling cool things. The thing about common sense is that it’s not common.

  • Asor.Rosa

    Just a correction, Geneva is not Switzerland’s capital, that is Bern.

  • Hi,

    Eek! Thanks for pointing that out. We’ve updated the article accordingly.

    Kind regards,