Ford has long indicated that CarPlay and Android Auto were part of its long-term infotainment strategy, but only now are we learning the actual game plan: both platforms will finally be coming this year.
All 2017 Ford models sold in North America with the company's Sync 3 infotainment platform will have CarPlay and Android Auto out of the box, while owners of 2016 models will be able to upgrade "later in the year." The 2017 Escape will be the first model on the road to get both systems, going on sale in the spring. The new Escape had also been previously announced as the first vehicle to get Ford's Sync Connect system, which brings LTE into the car; other vehicles with Sync 3 will be getting LTE later this year as well.
Interestingly, Ford is also promoting enhancements to its own AppLink platform at this year's CES, suggesting that the company has no intention of giving up on it — even as CarPlay and Android Auto are spreading industrywide. AppLink apps will now be able to access vehicle data directly, and several apps are coming this year that are able to take advantage, including AAA and Concur, a business expensing system that can log vehicle mileage automatically. And it's not just Ford using AppLink: the open version of the platform, SmartDeviceLink, is being "investigated" by Toyota as a possible in-car app platform. (It's probably no coincidence that Toyota, like Ford, has been slow to adopt CarPlay and Android Auto.)
Apple CarPlay Review Google introduced Android Auto earlier this year and now it's Apple's turn to join the mix