Apple recently announced the impending arrival of its far-reaching iOS 13 update for its tablets and phones, and one of the most significant changes is one that will benefit drivers – an extensive revamp of the company’s Apple CarPlay smartphone mirroring system.
The iOS 13 update is currently in ‘public beta’ mode ahead of its full release later this year, meaning savvy users can opt-in to an early update. Do so, and you’ll find that CarPlay’s home screen now looks significantly different.
There’s now a slicker presentation to the ‘dashboard’, which clusters together a large tile for your sat-nav app of choice – which displays a smaller map view to enable you to keep tabs on your location from the dashboard screen – alongside three smaller tiles that show what’s playing on your media app, suggested destinations in your area, and a new calendar app that can display upcoming appointment times and locations.
It’s a solid evolution over the old system, and displays more information on the one screen to allow better at-a-glance usability. Having to flick between ‘pages’ to get info on what song is being played should be a thing of the past.
Using the Siri voice assistant is also another streamlined process, with the Siri interface being overlaid on whatever screen you happen to be on, thus allowing you to still see your navigation instructions while dictating commands. There’s also some integration with Apple’s HomeKit ecosystem of IOT devices, giving you remote control over connected devices in your house like, say, a garage door opener.
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Also, if your passenger happens to grab your phone while it’s plugged in and change to a different app, it will no longer boot you out of whatever app was being displayed on your car’s screen.
If you’re shopping for a new car, especially one at the cheaper end of the pricing spectrum, the recent rise of smartphone mirroring from Google's Android Auto and Apple's CarPlay has been nothing but transformative. After all, with updates such as CarPlay’s iOS 13 roll-out happening on a regular basis, it means the infotainment system of your car will evolve and get better over time – something that doesn’t generally happen with built-in infotainment systems.
Now, all your car needs is a touchscreen and compatibility with Android Auto or Apple CarPlay for you to put a high-tech, internet-enhanced infotainment suite on your dashboard – even if your car doesn’t come with built-in sat-nav system as standard. Mirroring systems are fast becoming a fixture of standard equipment lists too, with even cars as cheap as the $14,990 Kia Picanto sporting a touchscreen and smartphone mirroring as factory-issue gear.