Apple's 4WD - CarPlay launched; iPhone 6 leak suggests revamp

It seemed like a long drive but Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) solution to distracted driving is on its way and will hit the road this week. 

The company has announced the launch of CarPlay, its four-wheel dream drive, with three automakers – Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo – premiering the in-car iPhone user interface this week and another 15 set to follow “down the road”.

“CarPlay gives iPhone users an incredibly intuitive way to make calls, use Maps, listen to music and access messages with just a word or a touch. Users can easily control CarPlay from the car’s native interface or just push-and-hold the voice control button on the steering wheel to activate Siri without distraction,” Apple said in a media statement.

As Emirates 24|7 reported earlier (Read: iPhone 6 'eyes-free' Siri for Ferrari, 16 car brands), vehicles from Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo will be the first to introduce the interface. They will premiere CarPlay to their drivers this week, Apple announced, while additional auto manufacturers bringing CarPlay to their drivers down the road include BMW Group, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai Motor Company, Jaguar Land Rover, Kia Motors, Mitsubishi Motors, Nissan Motor Company, PSA Peugeot Citroën, Subaru, Suzuki and Toyota Motor Corp.

Greg Joswiak, Apple’s veep of iPhone and iOS Product Marketing, noted that the interface fills a void in the in-car technology integration sphere. “iPhone users always want their content at their fingertips and CarPlay lets drivers use their iPhone in the car with minimised distraction,” he said. “We have an amazing line-up of auto partners rolling out CarPlay, and we’re thrilled it will make its debut this week in Geneva.”

Meanwhile, Chinese blog WeiPhone has posted a supposedly leaked image of the upcoming iPhone 6, which suggests that Apple’s flagship smartphone will be completely revamped from the ground up.

Assuming that the image is not another fake, the new iPhone 6 will be about the same size as the iPhone 5 but will sport a bigger display thanks to doing away completely with the side bezels of the phone, and vertically increase the size of the screen as well. Emirates 24|7 has previously reported that the bigger iPhone 6 may actually not belong to the iPhone family at all (Read: Apple’s iPhone 6 may not be called iPhone).

Rumours gave been suggesting for a while that Apple will launch at least two new iPhone models this year – like it did last year with the iPhone 5s and the 5c – with bigger displays than the iPhone 5s’ 4-inch screen. The company is also said to consider using sapphire glass for its iPhone 6.

Back to Apple’s CarPlay, and the Cupertino-based firm claims it has led consumer technology integration in the car for more than a decade. “CarPlay brings your car and iPhone together for a thoughtful experience that lets drivers focus on driving, while also tapping into everything they want to do with their iPhone,” it adds.

Apple’s loyal attendant Siri is set to become more ubiquitous with CarPlay, helping us access our contacts, make calls, return missed calls or listen to voicemails once we connect our iPhones with a car that is compatible with CarPlay.

For it to work seamlessly, you’ll not only need a car that is CarPlay-enabled, but also an iPhone that is Lightning-enabled – which means that it won’t work with iPhones that are older that the iPhone 5. For those still sporting the iPhone 4s or older versions, it’s window shopping only.

Anyways, for those with a willing iPhone and an enabled car, this is how CarPlay will work: When incoming messages or notifications arrive, Siri provides an eyes-free experience by responding to requests through voice commands, by reading drivers’ messages and letting them dictate responses or simply make a call.

In addition, Apple says CarPlay makes driving directions more intuitive by working with Maps to anticipate destinations based on recent trips via contacts, emails or texts, and provides routing instructions, traffic conditions and ETA. “You can also simply ask Siri and receive spoken turn-by-turn directions, along with Maps, which will appear on your car’s built-in display,” it notes.

CarPlay also gives drivers access to all of their music, podcasts, audiobooks and iTunes Radio with navigation through listening choices from the car’s built-in controls or simply by asking Siri to pull up what they’d like to hear. It also supports select third-party audio apps including Spotify and iHeartRadio.

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