Nine new automakers have committed to supporting Apple's CarPlay in future models of their vehicles. Abarth, Alfa Romeo, Audi, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep, Mazda, and Ram are joining the existing 20 companies that have already announced their plans to integrate CarPlay, Apple's iOS-powered dashboard for vehicles. Integrating smartphones with car dashboards has emerged as a new focus for Apple, as well as competitors like Google, though the car is less a battleground than it is an extension of their mobile operating systems, since a vehicle might be able to work with multiple types of phones.

Even though CarPlay's features are basic, it still offers an experience far better than what you'd find on the average car's dashboard. That's something that'll be worth looking for when buying a new car, and it'll be increasingly important for smartphone makers to ensure that their phones connect with most popular vehicles. Just last week, Google announced a similar effort, called Android Auto, and it's supposed to become available on certain cars by the end of the year. Apple's CarPlay will be supported byb vehicles from five automakers, including Honda and Mercedes-Benz, this year.