Siri, Take the Wheel: Apple’s new infotainment system revealed

Apple continued to dominate the tech-savvy mainstream last week by unveiling its CarPlay infotainment system at the Geneva Motor Show. While the system hasn’t made its way into any current vehicle on the market, it will debut later this year in some Volvo, Ferrari, and Mercedes-Benz models. Apple also claims to be working on future deals with Kia and an assortment of other vehicles.

In operation, drivers can connect their Lightning-equipped iPhone via a hardline, allowing for charging while pushing phone operations to the on-board infotainment system. A steering wheel-mounted voice control button can activate Siri, though users can also interface with iOS 7-inspired controls if a car comes equipped with a touchscreen. According to Apple, CarPlay can access all knobs, buttons, and dials controlling an in-car display. Further, drivers can place phone calls, listen to voice mail messages, access contacts, and have Siri read text messages. Mapping is also integrated into CarPlay, including turn-by-turn directions that show up on the car’s screen.

Entertainment options include access to an iPhone’s music library, podcasts, audiobooks, iTunes Radio, and music streaming apps like Spotify, Beats Music, and iHeartRadio. CarPlay will also come as an update to iOS 7 and works with Lightning-enabled iPhones, including the iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c, and iPhone 5.

The system is garnering mixed reviews. Those none-to-pleased with the juicy fruit’s new system are safety advocates. They argue distracted driving is a huge concern on modern roads with more vehicles allowing drivers to use their smartphones through Bluetooth and infotainment systems. A Texas A&M study found that drivers’ reaction time doubled while dictating text messages, according to CNN Money. They believe this new technology is certainly not making drivers pay more attention to the road.

Conversely, Apple knows that inattentive drivers are a major cause of concern and addressed it in their press release, saying: “CarPlay lets drivers use their iPhone in the car with minimized distraction.” Still, none of the models with the tech are available yet. It’s hard to make quality judgments until it is actually on the road.

Check out these images of the CarPlay, courtesy of Apple. Then let us know, would you want CarPlay in your vehicle?

14.03.03-CarPlay 14.03.03-CarPlay-3 14.03.03-CarPlay-2