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The Next-Generation Apple CarPlay: What You Need to Know

Apple is coming for your climate controls and speedometer.

next generation apple carplay dashboard shown across multiple screens

Apple first released CarPlay back in 2014, to significant acclaim. The technology allowed drivers to mirror their iPhone onto the car's infotainment screen, enabling use of many programs without having to touch or look at your own personal phone. Having CarPlay has made it far easier (and safer) to play audio content, use navigation software and perform other tasks (you can even order Dominos through it) from the phone while driving.

As a result, CarPlay has become so popular, it's now available in nearly every new car for sale in America (though General Motors is abandoning it). That said, screens have evolved in cars over the past 10 years. Now, Apple's next-generation of CarPlay is evolving to meet them.

Here's what you need to know about next-gen Apple CarPlay.

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What's new about next-generation Apple CarPlay?

The current edition of CarPlay projects phone functions onto the infotainment screen. Next-generation CarPlay won't be confined to the infotainment screen, and it will be able to control vehicle functions.

CarPlay will be able to take over the digital instrument cluster and display relevant vehicle data through customizable widgets and themes. CarPlay will also be able to control the vehicle's climate system, so you won't have to leave the ecosystem to do so in vehicles without physical buttons.

apple carplay shown on screen from live event
Eric Yang

When will the next-generation Apple CarPlay arrive?

Nothing has been confirmed yet, but CAR magazine in Britain reports that the new CarPlay will debut in 2024.

Porsche and Aston Martin vehicles will get it first. Both brands offered previews of what their next-gen CarPlay displays will look like in shadowy concept images that dropped towards the end of 2023; Aston's picture appears to show it in a DB12-like cockpit, while Porsche's layout appears to display the new setup in a hypothetical model with a larger center screen than the current Cayenne or future Macan EV. (Still, if we had to guess, we'd hypothesize that the new system might first show up in Porsche's future electric crossover.)

the dashboard of a car
Aston Martin’s next-gen CarPlay setup.
Aston Martin / Apple
graphical user interface
Porsche’s next-gen CarPlay setup.
Porsche / Apple

The most obvious change to the system is the integration of CarPlay into the instrument panel, where each brand has customized the look to align with the brand's image and preferences. The (clearly electric) Porsche has a trio of round gauges: central power gauge and digital speedo, with an "analog" speedometer to the left and a driving data pod to the right. The Aston, meanwhile, has more traditional dual circular gauges — speedo on the left, tach on the right — with a secondary info display in the center.

That customization, however, also further extends to the secondary displays. The central and passenger-side displays of the Porsche one, for example, use a checkered backdrop much like you would have seen on the seats or dash of Porsches of yore.

Which cars will offer next-generation Apple CarPlay?

Apple has not announced which brands will get it besides Porsche and Aston Martin, at least to begin. During the initial launch, however, Apple displayed a graphic with the brands collaborating on next-gen CarPlay. Those brands included Ford/Lincoln, Jaguar Land Rover, Volvo/Polestar, Mercedes-Benz, Honda/Acura, Nissan/Infiniti, Porsche and Audi. As such, we'd expect all of them to begin using CarPlay 2.0 within the next couple years.

apple carplay instrument display shown on large screen from live event
Eric Yang

Ford CEO Jim Farley recently committed the company to offering Apple CarPlay in the future, which would presumably include the next-generation integration.

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Does this mean the Apple Car is coming soon?

Short answer: not really. Apple is, by all accounts, pursuing Project Titan — also known as "the Apple Car" — in a serious manner. Such a car will no doubt contain a similar holistic setup with iOS integration that can control the car's functions. But that's the easy part.

Apple needs to develop self-driving technology — that's the potential value add that would make the Apple Car matter. That technology may still be years away from existing, let alone being regulated and production-ready. Apple also needs to design a car, develop it and set up a manufacturing process to assemble it.

One Apple analyst has the Apple Car arriving sometime between 2025 and 2027 at the earliest — and that's in an optimistic scenario. It could be much later.

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