Unlike Mercedes, which says it’s working on a way to bring Apple’s new in-car tech to existing customers, other companies won’t be following the same path.
It means that for the moment at least, CarPlay, Apple’s new system for mirroring iPhone functionality on the car dashboard is going to be both an exclusive and elusive feature.
As well as Mercedes, Volvo and Ferrari, who have all demonstrated the technology working in their latest cars — due to go on sale this year — a host of other companies have pledged to offer CarPlay in new cars soon.
However, so far, none of the other brands — from Honda and Jaguar Land Rover to Ford and Toyota, have been prepared to say exactly when CarPlay is coming and in which cars it is likely to feature.
And now, Ferrari and Volvo have both released statements to Apple news site 9to5Mac saying that they won’t be offering CarPlay as a retro-fitted option to existing customers.
Volvo claims that the reason is that to do so would be too complicated. It’s not simply a matter of installing new software but of essentially changing the layout of the dashboard and instrument panel as its take on CarPlay is all about increasing safety and reducing driver distraction.
Ferrari has said that although CarPlay will not be offered to existing customers, it does offer an aftermarket product “aimed at offering last generation infotainment, completely compatible with most recent phones.” Already compatible with the Ferrari F430, it will soon also be offered to 599, 612 Scaglietti and first-generation California owners too.
So far, leading aftermarket in-car system companies, including Pioneer and Kenwood, have also been quiet on the subject only confirming that none of their 2014 replacement music and navigation head systems will be supporting the technology.
Meaning that for now, the only company likely to offer an aftermarket installation will be Mercedes, which has confirmed it is working on a solution but is yet to reveal which cars will qualify for the system.
In January, Google announced that it had formed the Open Road partnership with a number of leading auto-makers, including Volkswagen, to bring a safer form of Android to the car dashboard.
However, a production version of the system is yet to be demoed. Worried about alienating potential customers over their preferred smartphone operating system, Mercedes has made it clear that when the Android system launches officially it will be supporting it too.