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Apple to unveil CarPlay infotainment system in Geneva

Feature formally known as iOS in the Car will debut on Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo vehicles.

By Douglas Newcomb Mar 3, 2014 11:15AM

Apple’s latest debut feature for new cars -- following its slow roll out of the Siri Eyes Free voice assistant over the last year -- is finally here. We'll get the first glimpse of CarPlay, the feature formerly known as iOS in the Car, at this week’s Geneva Motor Show in select Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo models.

CarPlay will provide an “intuitive way to make calls, use Maps, listen to music and access messages with just a word or a touch,” Apple said in a press release. The “touch” refers to access of CarPlay through a vehicle’s in-dash touch screens, while “just a word” refers to activation via Siri Eyes Free through a car’s voice-recognition button on the steering wheel.

While several automakers already offer various device-agnostic smartphone integration systems -- with varying results -- CarPlay is explicitly for iPhones, and only for the iPhone 5 and up. It's the Apple-approved way for using an iPhone while driving and also brings a few extra features.

According to Apple, CarPlay will only work with the iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c and iPhone 5, or devices that use the latest Lightning connector. The feature will be available as an update to iOS 7.

Beyond giving drivers direct access to iPhone features such as music, messaging and contacts on their devices, Apple said CarPlay can "anticipate destinations" when using the Apple-based navigation and essentially can scan your contacts, emails and texts to provide more personalized routing.

CarPlay will, of course, give drivers access to music, podcasts and audiobooks in their iTunes library as well as iTunes Radio. Apple also announced that CarPlay will support “select third-party audio apps including Spotify and iHeartRadio,” although it's unclear whether the company will open up the platform to other apps.

Additional automakers have signed up to offer CarPlay in upcoming models, including BMW, Ford, General Motors, Honda (shown in the Civic on Apple's website), Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover, Kia, Mitsubishi, Nissan, PSA Peugeot Citroën, Subaru, Suzuki and Toyota. Pricing has not been announced.

[Source: Apple]

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