What Are Apple CarPlay and Android Auto?
The average car on American roads is more than 12 years old. So many of us haven’t been car shopping since Barack Obama was running for re-election. We may not all be up to speed on current in-car technology.
Almost every new car in 2023 uses a system that projects your most-used smartphone apps onto the car’s touchscreen. Apple’s version is called “CarPlay.” Google’s is called “Android Auto.” Both give you access to music streaming, navigation apps, telephone, messaging, and similar smartphone features with a quick tap on a car’s touchscreen.
In these days of endless distraction, they’re practically safety devices. They minimize the temptation to pick up your phone.
Sounds Great – Why Get Rid of Them?
GM says it’s phasing the systems out because it thinks it can provide something better and more useful for drivers.
But many analysts think, instead, the automaker wants to compete with Apple and Google to take a bite out of entertainment and information subscription revenue. In the process, it could also collect valuable data about drivers – data it could sell.
Related: Apple CarPlay – Do You Need It?
Why Doesn’t Ford Do the Same?
It’s not a trivial difference between the two companies. They have entirely different perspectives on how to make money on cars in the future.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Ford CEO Jim Farley explains, “You’ve got two camps in the software interior” market. One, he says, is “Tesla, and now, it turns out, GM. And we’re in the other group.”
The Tesla/GM camp, he says, thinks it can make money by selling entertainment and information inside cars. “They want to have complete control over your experience” behind the wheel.
Ford, though, thinks, “We kinda lost that battle ten years ago.” He says that companies that already provide content for phones have conquered the space, and their systems work well.
Automakers like Ford, Farley says, should focus on “safety and security, partial autonomy, and productivity.”
Seventy percent of Ford buyers, Farley says, are Apple customers. He doesn’t see a reason to compete with a choice they’ve already made about where to get streaming services, news, or other information.
That doesn’t mean Ford won’t be selling software. Most automakers are headed down a path that will see them sell subscriptions to services and even parts of cars. But Ford doesn’t plan to do it by displacing Apple CarPlay and Android Auto systems.