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Roundup: Video of Apple's CarPlay in action with Mercedes, Volvo, & Ferrari

post #1 of 50
Thread Starter 
With CarPlay's official launch ceremonies in the rear view mirror, the floor of the Geneva Motor Show is now abuzz with hands-on demonstrations that reveal more details of the system's design and flexibility.

CarPlay


Each of Apple's three launch partners has chosen a slightly different implementation in terms of hardware and control schemes, though CarPlay's core concepts remain the same throughout. Each CarPlay-enabled app mirrors the functionality of its iPhone counterpart, but with a slightly different format that generally means larger typefaces and a darker overall color scheme.

There are some minor differences: Maps, for instance, launches into turn-by-turn direction mode immediately when a destination is selected, and a hardware home button is nowhere to be found despite its presence in Apple's marketing materials. In addition, a special manufacturer-specific app icon returns users to the vehicle's regular infotainment system when pressed.

Notably, all of the demonstrations focus on interacting with the system via Siri, a sign that Apple believes voice control is the way forward.

Volvo





Swedish automaker Volvo has chosen its futuristic Concept Estate showcar to put Apple's new infotainment option on display. The system runs on a large, portrait-oriented touchscreen embedded into the center of the car's dashboard.

Approximately one-third of the touchscreen's display area is give over to CarPlay. The rest is dedicated to vehicle controls -- like ventilation -- that surround and in some cases temporarily overlap CarPlay's display.

Touch appears to be the only input method allowed outside of the dedicated steering wheel-mounted Siri button that every CarPlay-equipped vehicle will ship with. Users can scroll through lists and pan around maps with iOS's familiar swiping motion.

Ferrari






Ferrari's CarPlay implementation, shown off in the latest model of the marque's FF grand tourer, runs on a smaller display than its Volvo counterpart. The landscape touchscreen appears to be resistive, rather than capacitive, and sports a dedicated hardware button that switches users from Ferrari's own user interface to CarPlay.

Though Ferrari relies on touch for most interaction, the Italian marque differs from its Swedish counterpart in that it provides specific touchable areas -- marked with arrows -- for moving through paginated content, like lists, rather than swipe-style scrolling. There is no word on why Ferrari chose to go this route, but it could be due to the display technology used in the FF.

Mercedes-Benz





In contrast to the touch-based preferences of Volvo and Ferrari, Mercedes continues to prefer hardware controls. Most interaction is carried out using a rotary knob in the vehicle's center console, while the display is mounted higher up on the dashboard, just below the driver's line of sight.

Like Ferrari, Mercedes allows CarPlay to take over the entire display but does not provide a button to switch contexts. Rather, CarPlay automatically launches as soon as an iPhone is plugged in.
post #2 of 50
Not sure why Volvo is referred to as the Swedish car maker, when it is owned by a Chinese company.
post #3 of 50

The Mercedes video in German is very cool...  Siri speaks very smoothly...

I'd like to hear a demo in French or Spanish. ;)


Edited by AppleSauce007 - 3/5/14 at 8:03am
post #4 of 50
I guess that it's because that is were it started(?)

I really don't understand the resistive touch on the ferrari.
What would be the benefits of it?
post #5 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBell View Post

Not sure why Volvo is referred to as the Swedish car maker, when it is owned by a Chinese company.

It's still very much Swedish. Their history is clearly Swedish, their CEO is still Swedish, they are still headquartered in Sweden, and they are still traded publicly in Sweden. I think it would more disingenuosus to call them a Chinese car maker when by all accounts they are simply now owned by a Chinese company, just like it would be disinegenuous to claim that owning a Chrysler, Dodge or Jeep means you own an Italian car.

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post #6 of 50
can't believe that the FF went with a resistive touch screen...what a weak choice for such an awesome car. and holy crap their in house solution looks like a mess, which is esp obvious when transitioning between iOS.
post #7 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by schlack View Post

can't believe that the FF went with a resistive touch screen...what a weak choice for such an awesome car. and holy crap their in house solution looks like a mess, which is esp obvious when transitioning between iOS.

As I was watching that (and noting that it's resistive touch) I couldn't help thinking "Steve wouldn't have let them do this."  I just believe that Jobs would have taken this up the line to convince the big wigs that Ferrari that this was a bad choice, perhaps with some colorful language.

post #8 of 50

I actually agree with John Gruber's assessment of the state of Car Play today:

 

But is CarPlay the iPhone in 2007, or the Rokr in 2005? From what I’ve seen today:

 

I'm afraid that the manufacturers have too much control of the implementation. Maybe they should've let Jonny and team design the whole thing.

post #9 of 50

Although the function and feature list is impressive, after watching the video, I would worry about driver distraction. Even if it is just the passenger interacting with the screen, it would be a tremendous temptation for the driver to look down at the screen. There is certainly a lot going on for a driver to use this safely. I like the Mercedes implementation a lot better then the Volvo one. As obnoxiously large as the monitor is, at least it is in the right place, more in the line of sight for driving and the control knob is more appropriate from an ergonomic perspective as well.

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post #10 of 50
The FF experience seems to be crippled a bit. The real question, how will this hamper the overall user experience?
post #11 of 50
I'm glad there's some commonality. See my comment #52 at

http://forums.appleinsider.com/t/162305/apple-announces-ios-powered-carplay-infotainment-system-to-roll-out-later-this-year/40

At least for most makes. Looks like Mercedes hasn't yet caught on. Drivers should use steering wheel controls and audio so they're not looking away from the road. I don't want a big-assed Mercedes SUV coming toward me on a two-lane road while the driver is looking down and twiddling his knob (so to speak)!

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post #12 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kibitzer View Post

 I don't want a big-assed Mercedes SUV coming toward me on a two-lane road while the driver is looking down and twiddling his knob

That is not how it works. Exactly the opposite. You turn the knob by feel and it toggles through the menus on screen. You never have to look at the knob.

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post #13 of 50

Agree. The thing that struck me is how different each experience is to control the UI. One is a direct capacitive touch screen, the other the nasty resistive screen, and the third some kind of iPod VCR jog dial thingy. Maybe Apple just wanted to get their name into these cars, but it seems all kind of hobbled a bit to me.

post #14 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

That is not how it works. Exactly the opposite. You turn the knob by feel and it toggles through the menus on screen. You never have to look at the knob.

Okay, feel your knob all you want! 1biggrin.gif

But you're still taking your eyes off the road to look at the screen!

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post #15 of 50

Wow, the Volvo employs a capacitive screen, but the Ferrari doesn't?

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post #16 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kibitzer View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

That is not how it works. Exactly the opposite. You turn the knob by feel and it toggles through the menus on screen. You never have to look at the knob.

Okay, feel your knob all you want! 1biggrin.gif

But you're still taking your eyes off the road to look at the screen!

Couldn't agree more. Clearly the reason Mercedes put the screen up so high is to eliminate the need to look down. Still distracting, which is why I am generally opposed to the concept in principle, although, turn by turn voice and on screen mapping can actually improve safety because if you are in an unfamiliar area, you are not frantically looking for street signs or address numbers, but, just letting the nav system take you to your destination.

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post #17 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by kkerst View Post
 

Agree. The thing that struck me is how different each experience is to control the UI. One is a direct capacitive touch screen, the other the nasty resistive screen, and the third some kind of iPod VCR jog dial thingy. Maybe Apple just wanted to get their name into these cars, but it seems all kind of hobbled a bit to me.

 

No, they didn't want to simply get their names into these cars. They realised the car manufactures wouldn't give them full control, but wanted to give iPhone owners at least some kind of solution to benefiting from owning an iPhone and using it in their car.

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post #18 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by malax View Post

As I was watching that (and noting that it's resistive touch) I couldn't help thinking "Steve wouldn't have let them do this."  I just believe that Jobs would have taken this up the line to convince the big wigs that Ferrari that this was a bad choice, perhaps with some colorful language.
I think we overstate the power Steve had. I hear the same thing about TV - if Steve was around Apple TV would have ala carte programming options and we'd all be able to cut the cord. Do people really think the current management team at Apple is willing to settle for things that Steve wouldn't have?
post #19 of 50
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Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

No, they didn't want to simply get their names into these cars. They realised the car manufactures wouldn't give them full control, but wanted to give iPhone owners at least some kind of solution to benefiting from owning an iPhone and using it in their car.
The Apple representative said they wanted to make sure it worked with both touch and dials. I'm guessing the Mercedes will allow for both options.
post #20 of 50

I find it interesting and somewhat absurd that lawmakers are doing whatever they can to discourage distracted driving and car makers are doing everything they can to add more features that will distract you.

post #21 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Larz2112 View Post

I find it interesting and somewhat absurd that lawmakers are doing whatever they can to discourage distracted driving and car makers are doing everything they can to add more features that will distract you.

It's a very high-profile debate for sure. We'll be hearing a lot more about this because it's still a long way until some sensible solutions can be reached. A very high-stakes game for many players.

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post #22 of 50
Quote:
 No, they didn't want to simply get their names into these cars. They realised the car manufactures wouldn't give them full control, but wanted to give iPhone owners at least some kind of solution to benefiting from owning an iPhone and using it in their car.

I realize they didn't go into it with that intent, but look at the result. The intent doesn't matter if the end result is subpar. This reminds me of the original Apple-Motorola ROKR venture, and we know how that turned out. 

post #23 of 50
What Apple is showing off is already way ahead of what most automakers have implemented on their own. The Ford Sync system on my 2010 Escape is so inconsistent with voice activated features working that I seldom try to use them. Even using my iPhone for music via bluetooth streaming is sometimes automatic; other times, the phone isn't detected and you need to scroll through menus via knobs to get streaming initiated. And don't bother trying to select music via voice controls. Too frustrating. Checked the Ford website recently to see if there ever was an update to the software (Microsoft designed) on my vehicle and nothing in the last 3.5 years. Ford owners with touch screens and navigation and a more complex software installation are doing a lot of complaining online and more updates have been issued to deal with their problems, but customer feedback still looks fairly negative. I'm looking forward to seeing Apple or third party solutions to retrofit existing vehicles to get CarPlay features.
post #24 of 50

Yeah touch screen and all are nice but not in a car while you are driving.

 

Certain car controls need to stay as manual knobs and buttons. I drive my car and never take my eyes off the road to change the heat or the volume on the radio and the list goes on. I can reach over and feel for the right control knob and button and I am done. You can not do that with a touch screen, you have to look at the screen to know where to press, this is when accident happen.

 

Lastly these systems cost $3000 extra and why would you pay that much extra for a toy in a car, You suppose to be driving not entertaining yourself. It bad enough we have to dodge drivers using the cell phone, imagine what it is going to be like when these systems get out there.

post #25 of 50

Apple was most successful when they walked away from things that didn't give them full control, as the user experience was usually terrible (Motorola iTunes phone...). One can only hope that they will do the same here (soon).

 

What Apple SHOULD have done is take over the control panel completely, and manage the UI for the entire car system, including heating, radio, on-board computer, etc. That would have been an Apple product. But most car manufacturers probably believe that their UI is a key branding aspect and so would not have given them control. Apple should then have walked away. 

post #26 of 50

I really did not think Steve was so important (especially as he made a lot of mistakes), but in his final 5-7 years, he knew when to walk away. He would have walked away from CarPlay the way it is now (the same way he never made a big hoopla about Apple TV).

post #27 of 50

This looks like a big dud to me. Every mistake Apple used to make fun of, they did with this: rushing to market because a competitor is getting into this space (Android agreements with Audi etc), letting hardware manufacturers have too much say (seriously, the implementation on the Ferrari is awful, and not much better on the Merc and the Volvo), and not thinking through the user experience when designing the UI.

 

I really really hate to say this, but Steve would have put a small screen in the middle of the dashboard in front of the driver, and one button or a lever on the steering wheel. The UI has to be contextual to the situation: a touchscreen works if you are walking on the street or sitting on a bus, but for drivers, the UI has to be adapted. Apple! A terrible UI! Unbelievable! (I am upset because I own AAPL, such a shame.)

 

I for one will continue to use my iPhone by hooking it up to Bluetooth in my car. I get almost all the functionality of CarPlay, without having to deal with a weird and incomplete user interface. iOS in the car should have been about getting rid of the screen in the car, not making it bigger and messier.

post #28 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleSauce007 View Post
 

The Mercedes video in German is very cool...  Siri speaks very smoothly...

I'd like to hear a demo in French or Spanish. ;)

After your comment i made test to see how Siri sounds in Spanish (i understand and speak very well spanish) what i can tell you she sounds great


Edited by iMember - 3/5/14 at 11:24am

 

 

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post #29 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by sflagel View Post

Apple was most successful when they walked away from things that didn't give them full control, as the user experience was usually terrible (Motorola iTunes phone...). One can only hope that they will do the same here (soon).

What Apple SHOULD have done is take over the control panel completely, and manage the UI for the entire car system, including heating, radio, on-board computer, etc. That would have been an Apple product. But most car manufacturers probably believe that their UI is a key branding aspect and so would not have given them control. Apple should then have walked away. 
And then basically secede the market to Google or Microsoft or whoever. How is that smart?
post #30 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by sflagel View Post

This looks like a big dud to me. Every mistake Apple used to make fun of, they did with this: rushing to market because a competitor is getting into this space (Android agreements with Audi etc), letting hardware manufacturers have too much say (seriously, the implementation on the Ferrari is awful, and not much better on the Merc and the Volvo), and not thinking through the user experience when designing the UI.

I really really hate to say this, but Steve would have put a small screen in the middle of the dashboard in front of the driver, and one button or a lever on the steering wheel. The UI has to be contextual to the situation: a touchscreen works if you are walking on the street or sitting on a bus, but for drivers, the UI has to be adapted. Apple! A terrible UI! Unbelievable! (I am upset because I own AAPL, such a shame.)

I for one will continue to use my iPhone by hooking it up to Bluetooth in my car. I get almost all the functionality of CarPlay, without having to deal with a weird and incomplete user interface. iOS in the car should have been about getting rid of the screen in the car, not making it bigger and messier.
How did Apple rush this to market when they announced it last June? And quit with the stupid "Steve would have nonsense". He wasn't some god that that all the answers and always did everything perfectly. Plus auto companies probably weren't willing to give Apple total control. I'd rather see Apple get a foothold in this market than scede it to Google or Microsoft because they stubbornly insist on controlling the whole widget.
post #31 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drunkzombie View Post

I guess that it's because that is were it started(?)

I really don't understand the resistive touch on the ferrari.
What would be the benefits of it?

Cheaper, maybe? Ferrari's motto: 'Every little helps'

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post #32 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBell View Post

Not sure why Volvo is referred to as the Swedish car maker, when it is owned by a Chinese company.


Do we still refer to Chrysler as an American car maker, even though it is owned by an Italian company?  Are Rolls Royce and Bentley considered British car makers, even though they are owned by German companies?  Is Nissan a Japanese car maker, even though a French company holds a controlling interest?  Was Mazda a Japanese car maker when an American company held a controlling interest?

post #33 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by sflagel View Post
 

Apple was most successful when they walked away from things that didn't give them full control, as the user experience was usually terrible (Motorola iTunes phone...). One can only hope that they will do the same here (soon).

 

What Apple SHOULD have done is take over the control panel completely, and manage the UI for the entire car system, including heating, radio, on-board computer, etc. That would have been an Apple product. But most car manufacturers probably believe that their UI is a key branding aspect and so would not have given them control. Apple should then have walked away. 

Yes, this I agree with. Maybe this is what they did with Tesla, or maybe not. 

post #34 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleSauce007 View Post
 

The Mercedes video in German is very cool...  Siri speaks very smoothly...

I'd like to hear a demo in French or Spanish. ;)

I got to wondering about voice commands with CarPlay. In my BMW I already have rudimentary voice commands. So will the user be able to switch between Siri voice commands and built-in voice commands? Will there be two voice buttons on the steering wheel? I imagine there will be other overlapping functionality between CarPlay and the built-in system.

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post #35 of 50
By coming back and offering the better product later. They were late with an MP3 player, phone, tablet, and TV dongle. They don't have a watch, and they never had a netbook. They were successful when they did things in their own time. This is a rubbish product and may really hurry their brand. Like the Motorola iTunes phone.
post #36 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post

How did Apple rush this to market when they announced it last June? And quit with the stupid "Steve would have nonsense". He wasn't some god that that all the answers and always did everything perfectly. Plus auto companies probably weren't willing to give Apple total control. I'd rather see Apple get a foothold in this market than scede it to Google or Microsoft because they stubbornly insist on controlling the whole widget.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post

How did Apple rush this to market when they announced it last June? And quit with the stupid "Steve would have nonsense". He wasn't some god that that all the answers and always did everything perfectly. Plus auto companies probably weren't willing to give Apple total control. I'd rather see Apple get a foothold in this market than scede it to Google or Microsoft because they stubbornly insist on controlling the whole widget.

I apologise for the "Steve would have", but this is half baked, badly implemented, and ineffectual "solution". Current systems are really bad, they could have used a "revolution" like the iPod and the iPhone. CarPlay is not better. I would have preferred the leave the market to Android and let them fail (like CarPlay will fail, there is just no reason to get it) and then come out with a proper solution. Or not. But this will be a major dud and brand dilutive.
post #37 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post


How did Apple rush this to market when they announced it last June? And quit with the stupid "Steve would have nonsense". He wasn't some god that that all the answers and always did everything perfectly. Plus auto companies probably weren't willing to give Apple total control. I'd rather see Apple get a foothold in this market than scede it to Google or Microsoft because they stubbornly insist on controlling the whole widget.

The other issue lies with how the in-dash systems would operate without any Apple devices attached.  This is where every car maker has their own approach.  Mercedes and BMW have the low mounted toggle knobs, while VW and Hyundai use hard buttons flanking the touchscreen, and Ford goes with an all-touch approach.  And some car makers will assign other functions such as climate control to the on-screen touch controls, while other makers choose to keep those functions separate from the infotainment unit.  This is not a situation where Apple can control the entire widget, since car makers can have huge functional differences between their own models (and even trim levels on the same model). 

 

If anything, the announcement is probably sooner than Apple's normal rollout schedule.  But, March is the latter part of the car show season where auto makers announce and display their models for the upcoming year.  Summer would be a lousy time to make this kind of announcement, since much of the auto industry is in retooling and clearance mode by that time.  And Apple cannot keep something like CarPlay under wraps with things as conspicuous as a Siri button on the steering wheel or a CarPlay button on the in-dash system already appearing in the display models. 

 

And if anyone's going to play the "Steve would have done this" game, would Jobs have approved basically licensing iOS to the auto makers and letting them handle the implementation independently without any integration with Apple hardware?  Considering the long model cycles for cars, Apple would have to jump deep into the car design process early on.  And if they wanted to impose a uniform standard that would be consistent from one auto maker to another, they would have to have buy-in very early and from a lot of different car companies.  This would be a lot harder with cars than with smartphones, given the lack of uniform standards with in-dash systems and the level of integration between the infotainment system and other functions.

 

With CarPlay, the OS is integrated into an iOS device.  As an overlay, it's much easier to integrate into an existing in-dash system, than to require that the entire system run on iOS.  As it is, CarPlay will drive iOS device sales and/or strengthen tie-ins with existing iOS owners, and Apple will maintain control over the UI and the feature updates.  To me, that's more in line with Jobs' vision. 

post #38 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Woochifer View Post

With CarPlay, the OS is integrated into an iOS device.  As an overlay, it's much easier to integrate into an existing in-dash system, than to require that the entire system run on iOS.  As it is, CarPlay will drive iOS device sales and/or strengthen tie-ins with existing iOS owners, and Apple will maintain control over the UI and the feature updates.  To me, that's more in line with Jobs' vision.

Besides being the only viable method to make this work and allowing Apple to tailor changes to the UI as they see fit it also allows after-market vendors to create compatible solutions. I know Pioneer has AppRadio which seems to work with the same sort of Lightning to HDMI connector that these will likely need to function.

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post #39 of 50
That Mercedes video was one of the creepiest things ive ever seen. That guy looks like a sociopath rapist.
post #40 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slurpy View Post

That Mercedes video was one of the creepiest things ive ever seen. That guy looks like a sociopath rapist.

Guy? Dude looks like a lady?

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