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Apple's CarPlay puts iOS on your dashboard

Apple's CarPlay puts iOS on your dashboard

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As was rumored on Friday, Apple is today finally ready to launch a new iPhone integration setup for car infotainment systems. Calling it CarPlay, the Cupertino company claims it's "designed from the ground up to provide drivers with an incredible experience using their iPhone in the car." CarPlay is built primarily around the use of Siri voice commands and prompts, providing an "eyes-free" experience where you can respond to incoming calls, dictate text messages, or access your music library. It's also predictive, claiming to know where you'll most likely want to go based upon addresses found in your email, texts, contacts, and calendars. Apple's Maps are also an integral part of the service, which was previewed back in June of last year.

The first cars to support CarPlay will debut at the Geneva Motor Show this week, coming from Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz, and Volvo. They'll be followed by a very broad range of carmakers: Nissan, Peugeot, Jaguar Land Rover, BMW, and General Motors are among the big names promising to integrate CarPay into their forthcoming vehicles. Ford, which was recently reported to be moving away from Microsoft's Sync in-car voice commands, is also among the roster of future CarPlay supporters.

"If it controls your screen, it controls CarPlay."

CarPlay will come as part of an iOS 7 update, and only iPhones with Lightning connectivity (iPhone 5, 5S, and 5C) are supported so far. Beyond Apple's own iTunes Radio, CarPlay will also let you access a number of third-party music-streaming apps, including Spotify, Beats Radio, iHeartRadio, and Stitcher.

A dedicated voice-control button will be added to the steering wheel of CarPlay-enabled cars, though the system's main appeal is in being deeply integrated and intertwined with the electronic equipment you already have in your dashboard. Apple promises that "if it controls your screen, it controls CarPlay," allowing you to use the physical knobs and dials as well as touch and voice to interact with your iPhone.