Toyota’s new 2019 Avalon was just announced at the 2018 North American International Auto Show, and the new model includes a long-awaited and welcome addition: Apple’s CarPlay platform, a first for a Toyota car, according to AppleInsider.
Toyota has famously abstained from adopting either CarPlay or Android Auto in its cars. Back in 2015, John Hanson, the national manager of Toyota’s advanced technology communications, commented to The New York Times that the company “prefer[red] to use our in-house proprietary platforms for those kinds of functions.” Even when Toyota switched to another company’s system in 2016, it was to adopt Ford’s SmartDeviceLink app platform, not Apple or Google’s software. Last year at NAIM 2017, Toyota and Ford founded the SmartDeviceLink Consortium, with a focus on extending iOS and Android apps to car dashboards without having to cede control to Apple or Google.
Just the 2019 Avalon for now, but more cars will support it going forward
The company confirmed in a comment to MacRumors that CarPlay will show up in additional 2019 cars from Toyota and Lexus that run the company’s Entune 3.0 (for Toyota) and Enform 2.0 (for Lexus) infotainment platforms as well. It has yet to clarify whether or not 2018 models already running those platforms will get support through a software update.
On the 2019 Avalon, users will be able to interact with CarPlay through the 9-inch capacitive touchscreen. (Despite featuring a standard Qi wireless charger, there’s sadly no support for wireless CarPlay, so you’ll still have to plug in a cable to take advantage of the feature.) The new model also features Toyota’s first integration of smartwatch and Amazon Alexa compatibility through the Toyota Remote Connect, allowing owners to do things like lock or unlock their doors and start their car through Alexa or a smartwatch.
Oddly, Toyota seems to only be announcing support specifically for CarPlay; the company is seemingly not adding Android Auto integration at this time.