Next-gen CarPlay battles Android Automotive for automakers and drivers

CarPlay Visualization

After shutting down Apple's own car project, the company's attention turned to the next thing: the CarPlay generation and its relationship with automakers.

Although Apple first introduced the next-generation CarPlay concept in the summer of 2022, at the moment there are only two automakers – — Porsche and Aston-Martin — made a commitment to the product. More automakers have signed up for more comprehensive and integrated Android Automotive technology.

It differs from the first generation of Android Auto in that the in-car system is built into the vehicle at the factory. Bloomberg's Mark Gurman reports that the next-generation Apple CarPlay still works on the iPhone, which offers more flexibility but no licensing options.

The next generation of CarPlay has been demonstrated to expand to multiple screens inside vehicles and control vehicle equipment such as the climate system. Google is focusing on getting automakers to use native Android Automotive.

Currently, BMW, Ford, General Motors, Lucide, Polestar, Porsche, Stellantis and Volkswagen offer Android Automotive as an option for car buyers. The industry continues to support CarPlay due to the preference of iPhone-equipped car buyers.

Until now, Apple has focused on high-end car manufacturers, committing to supporting the next generation of CarPlay. With the so-called “Apple Car” project shut down, Apple can focus on the new CarPlay to strengthen its relationship with the industry.

Apple currently has no plans to monetize the new CarPlay by charging manufacturers to license it or offering a paid tier for users. The company is currently working with each supporting manufacturer to create a customized version for their vehicles.

After the closure of the Apple Car project, Gurman suggests that this could be an opportunity for Apple to make money on CarPlay itself.

He believes Apple may start charging car manufacturers to support CarPlay, believing some consumers won't consider cars without the feature.

Gurman also suggests that Apple continue to use the old version of CarPlay as a free option, but then charge for the new update.

Apple could also take the path of abandoning individual versions for each manufacturer in favor of templates for the operating system. This approach will still allow CarPlay customization for both users and automakers.

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