Mercedes-Benz and Volvo Shows off Apple’s CarPlay integration!

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Apple has launched its CarPlay feature to give drivers a “smarter, safer, and more fun” way to use iPhones in cars. It’s clear that Apple intends for the iPhone to be the center of car electronics. And to do that, it has to own your dashboard.

Premiering at the Geneva International Motor Show later this week, CarPlay lets you make calls, use maps, listen to music, and access messages with just a spoken word or a single touch on a touchscreen. You can use the car’s native interface or push-and-hold the voice control button on a steering wheel to activate the Siri voice-driven artificial intelligence on an iPhone. That helps reduce distractions when you’re driving.

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Cars from Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz, and Volvo will premiere CarPlay to their drivers this week. Others working on CarPlay features in the future include BMW Group, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai Motor, Jaguar Land Rover, Kia Motors, Mitsubishi Motors, Nissan Motor Company, PSA Peugeot Citroën, Subaru, Suzuki, and Toyota Motor.

“CarPlay has been designed from the ground up to provide drivers with an incredible experience using their iPhone in the car,” said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s vice president of iPhone and iOS Product Marketing. “iPhone users always want their content at their fingertips, and CarPlay lets drivers use their iPhone in the car with minimized distraction. We have an amazing lineup of auto partners rolling out CarPlay, and we’re thrilled it will make its debut this week in Geneva.”

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When an iPhone is connected to a vehicle with CarPlay integration, Siri can help you easily access your contacts, make calls, return missed calls, or listen to voicemails. When incoming messages or notifications arrive, Siri will be able to provide 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.

CarPlay can also make driving directions more intuitive using Apple Maps. It can anticipate destinations based on recent trips via contacts, emails, or texts, and it provides routing instructions, traffic conditions, and estimated time of arrival. You can also ask Siri for spoken turn-by-turn directions, along with Maps, which will appear on your car’s built-in display. You can also access music, podcasts, audiobooks, and iTunes Radio via CarPlay.

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CarPlay is available as an update to iOS 7 and works with Lightning-enabled iPhones, including iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c, and iPhone 5. It will debut in select cars in 2014.

Car maker Volvo was quick to post a video showing it off in action. Not to be outdone by Volvo, rival Mercedes-Benz has now shared additional tidbits pertaining to how it plans to integrate CarPlay into an upcoming C-Class.

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And just like Volvo, Mercedes-Benz is keeping its options open by not pledging exclusive support for CarPlay. In addition to its own in-car entertainment system, the company is going to support not only Apple’s CarPlay, but also Android-based in-car infotainment system when it launches later this year. Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty…

According to Mercedes’s press release, Prof. Dr Thomas Weber, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, responsible for Group Research & Mercedes-Benz Cars Development, made it clear that his company will pursue a multi-platform approach.

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Specifically, Mercedes-Benz intends to continue to offer its existing solutions such as Drive Kit Plus, Digital DriveStyle App, COMAND Online and Mercedes-Benz apps, all putting the power of smartphone apps at drivers’ disposal.

The company showed off CarPlay integration in a new C-Class at the Geneva Motor Show. Like Volvo, Mercedes-Benz will also allow drivers to use both its own and Apple’s solution simultaneously.

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Support for Android-based smartphones will be available from the middle of the year, as soon as Google brings its own in-car infotainment system to market.

Back in January, Google announced the Open Automotive Alliance, an in-car Android integration initiative which aims to replicate Google’s success with Android on mobile devices, only in your car.

Update: 

Ferrari shows off CarPlay integration with last-century resistive touchscreen tech

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