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Volkswagen says Apple wouldn’t let it demo wireless CarPlay

This was a big CES for Apple's CarPlay. iPhone owners will soon be able to plug into new Ford and Chrysler vehicles and get access Apple's slick in-car interface on their infotainment systems. But one potentially bigger surprise was left out of the show, according to a report from Car & Driver.

Apparently Volkswagen had a demonstration of wireless CarPlay ready for CES, but Apple put a stop to it, perhaps because it wants to make a bigger splash with the launch of the technology (which Apple announced last June at WWDC) itself — or because the technology isn’t quite ready yet. One plausible theory is that there’s a concern with battery life: iOS has technically supported wireless CarPlay for some time, but all CarPlay-equipped vehicles currently require the user to physically plug the phone into the car (as does Android Auto).

"We wanted to demonstrate wireless CarPlay and the owner of CarPlay technology didn’t allow us to," said Volkmar Tannerberger, head of electrical and electronic development at Volkswagen to Car & Driver.

If it’s not a battery life issue, and Apple simply wants to handle the launch of an already announced feature, it would be a rather silly, but honestly unsurprising move from the controlling hand of Cupertino. If multiple car companies are preparing to launch wireless CarPlay this year (and I suspect they are), Apple wouldn't necessarily want one automotive partner to jump the announcements of everyone else. And yet, with one comment to a car magazine, that's exactly what VW did. Very clever, Wolfsburg!

We've reached out to Volkswagen for comment.

See all of our CES 2016 news right here!

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