In June 2015, at the C3 Connected Car Conference, Buick announced the much anticipated inclusion of Apple CarPlay into all 2016 Regal and LaCrosse models. For anyone with an iPhone and a love of Buick vehicles, this is a pretty exciting development considering many fellow car brands have yet to introduce the new technology into their own cars. Here’s a look at what exactly Apple CarPlay is and how it’s been received:
What is Apple CarPlay?
Apple CarPlay is a system that takes the basic and most recognizable iPhone features and integrates them into the vehicle’s display, allowing the driver to use their iPhone safely while driving. As all of us know, using your smartphone while driving is incredibly dangerous. Apple CarPlay hopes to eliminate the desire for drivers to take their hand off the wheel and their eyes off the road to use their phone by instead integrating the phone’s core functions directly into the car’s control system.
The Apple CarPlay integration system connects to your iPhone via Buick’s IntelliLink system that has been released in their newest vehicles allowing drivers to call, text, listen to music, use maps, and a variety of compatible third-party apps by tapping their car’s touchscreen or by voice command using Siri. However, Android users will have to wait until later this year for Android Auto capability to be offered in Buick vehicles.
How Does It Work?
Apple CarPlay functions very similarly to the way the iPhone does. Buick hopes to eliminate the issues most drivers have with their vehicle’s touchscreen, which are widely disliked and difficult to use no matter the car brand, by integrating an already familiar, user-friendly display. Recognizable apps like Messages, Maps, Phone, and Music are displayed with the exact same icons that are used on your iPhone making it easy to operate.
How Safe is Apple CarPlay?
Buick has thought of everything when it comes to safety by incorporating a Siri voice command activation button on the steering wheel, resulting in the driver never having to remove their hands from the steering wheel or take their eyes off the road.
Apple CarPlay also has additional safety features built in. For example, texts cannot be read directly on the touchscreen. Instead, they can only be dictated which ensures that the driver is never removing their eyes from the road for an extended period of time, which is often the case with users that text while driving.
Pros and Cons Of Apple CarPlay
As with any relatively new technology, there are both pros and cons to Apple CarPlay, many of which may be resolved as the tech is updated and improved. For now, the main pros of using Apple CarPlay in your Buick vehicle are the user-friendly interface, the impressive safety features, and the integrated Siri voice command button and system.
The main con is that very few third-party apps are compatible with Apple CarPlay, Google Maps being on the most notably absent app available. Apple Maps has definitely improved, but it still can’t compete with Google’s version. Time will tell how many other applications Apple will add to the compatibility roster of Apple CarPlay, but for now, the available apps will do everything you could want and more.
Apple CarPlay is definitely a step in the right direction in terms of safer driving and safer roads. It will be interesting to see how the Android Auto system will differ when Buick releases it in compatible vehicles later this year.