A few automakers allow you to unlock and even start your engine from your phone, but Apple is taking things a few steps further. Here's every car control you'll be able to access using your iPhone, according to
More iPhone controls could be coming
Apple CarPlay already allows you to listen to music, make calls, and use navigation systems in your car. In 2019, Apple released an update that allowed CarPlay information to be displayed on secondary screens.
In 2020, CarKey was announced. The software enabled users to use their iPhones or Apple Watches to unlock their cars. Another innovation, electric-vehicle routing, made it possible for iPhones to detect EV connection and display charging info in maps.
Apple's new undertaking, known by the codename “IronHeart,” would improve upon CarPlay’s current capabilities, reportedly allowing iPhone-based access to temperature and humidity readings and systems, seat controls, speedometer, tachometer, and fuel instruments, and sound system settings, according to Bloomberg.
You can currently only change the song or volume from your iPhone. With the new update, you could configure the fade and balance setting and equalizers for the car's stereo system. This also applies to surround-sound speakers, tweeters, and subwoofers, allowing you to make custom settings for each from the palm of your hand.
How would these iPhone controls help drivers?
Ironheart is reportedly still in the initial development phase, but it's possible that this project could enable CarPlay to be the main controlling interface for vehicles. The biggest benefit of this would come in the form of a more convenient interface for drivers.
The integrated system could mitigate the frustrations that some users have experienced with CarPlay’s current functionalities, which often require you to navigate between two systems—the vehicle’s built-in one and CarPlay—to operate controls. If the entire infotainment system was overhauled to Apple CarPlay, you could configure everything in one place.
When switching from one car to another, it can be difficult to adjust to a new infotainment interface. However, if every car supported IronHeart, the core experience could be virtually the same across the board.
CNBC, Apple reported in 2020 that more than 80% of new cars support CarPlay, so one would assume that the transition to an updated version would be mostly seamless.
Additionally, the news outlet says that nearly one quarter of U.S. consumers consider Apple CarPlay a must-have when shopping for new cars.
However, many automakers aren't ready to hand over control to Apple just yet.
Potential problems with iPhone-based interfaces for car controls
Bloomberg notes that only a few auto brands currently support the CarPlay display update. These include Volkswagen and BMW—the latter of which is the only automaker supporting CarKey on some models.
What do other automakers offer in terms of smartphone controls?
Some automakers are more interested in refining their own vehicle technology systems than relying on Apple’s.
Case in point,
Tesla has been wildly successfuldespite opting out of both Apple CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto device support.
Ford has set their sights on developing better in-car technology, hiring the head of the Apple Car project and Tesla’s former chief engineer, Doug Field, to do so.
As for the future of CarPlay, if some or all of the features expected from IronHeart are indeed released, the success of the initiative will ultimately depend on the eagerness of consumers and willingness among automakers who strive to meet demands for the latest and greatest technology.
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