Home » Apple Wants To Make CarPlay Required For Every Screen In Your Car: Federal Lawsuit

Apple Wants To Make CarPlay Required For Every Screen In Your Car: Federal Lawsuit

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Apple CarPlay is hugely popular, and is already a deciding factor for many people when it comes to deciding what car they want to buy. For a large number of people, they would much rather have Apple’s user experience on their infotainment screens than whatever a given carmaker has come up with. Does this desire for an Apple-designed UX extend beyond the infotainment screen and to your car’s instrument cluster as well? Well, if you want to keep using CarPlay, I hope that’s the case, because, according to an antitrust lawsuit brought against Apple by the US government today, that’s exactly what Apple intends to do: take over your whole dashboard.

The lawsuit accuses the famous, massive tech company, known for such products as the Lisa, Apple ///, and Newton Messagepad, of creating an illegal monopoly in the smartphone field they helped to define, and of repressing competition in that field.

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Apple, of course, will be fighting the lawsuit bluetooth and nail, and will likely argue that their goal wasn’t to stifle competition but to create technology that works seamlessly.

What we’re interested in, of course, is the automotive angle; Apple’s CarPlay, along with their competitor Android Auto, are extremely popular replacements for the often clunky navigation/infotainment systems on modern cars. While, currently, Apple’s control is limited to the center-stack screen, there’s text in the lawsuit that suggests this will be changing:

Apple Suit Quote

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Apple has told automakers that the next generation of Apple CarPlay will take over all of the screens, sensors, and gauges in a car, forcing users to experience driving as an iPhone-centric experience if they want to use any of the features provided by CarPlay.

That’s a hell of a statement! We’ve known for some time that Apple was looking to move in this direction, but this seems to be the first time it’s suggested that it’s a sort of all-or-none proposition: if you want to use Carplay, you have to let Apple take over the whole dash, instrument cluster and all.

Do I want my speed or fuel level told to me via an Apple interface? I mean, I think they could actually do a good job at it, potentially, but that doesn’t mean I want to have no choice in the matter. At least one carmaker, GM, has talked about actually prohibiting Apple CarPlay from their in-car interfaces, center stack included, but that idea didn’t go over well because people do prefer CarPlay to GM’s home-grown UX, generally.

We have reached out to both Apple and automakers for comment and will update with anything we hear back.

This feels like a strange and needless overreach for Apple. Giving users an option to use an Apple-designed UX for speed, tachometer, coolant temperature, or whatever is one thing, but making it a requirement to use CarPlay? People are used to their car’s instruments, and changing them isn’t always the best idea. Does this apply to HVAC systems, too? Will they finally show the specific OBD-II code number and descriptive text when the check engine light comes on? At least that would be worthwhile.

What if there’s a bug in an update that misreports your fuel level? That’s the sort of thing that can strand people. Your dash instruments are critical displays of information, and why introduce more vulnerabilities there, especially for crucial things like oil level or coolant temperatures? Do we really need those to be all iPhone-style? Apple’s no less likely to have bugs in their software than anyone. In an infotainment screen, that’s no big deal. When it’s telling you tire pressures or oil temperature, that’s a different story.

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The wording from the Justice Department’s lawsuit seems to indicate that this is an all-or-nothing proposition, so it’ll be interesting to hear from Apple if that’s actually the case and we’ll update as soon as we hear more.

 

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Nobody Believes GM Can Do Better Than Apple CarPlay

 

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Ward William
Ward William
23 days ago

Anyone who decides what car to buy based on the entertainment system needs a brain transplant.

Sekim
Sekim
23 days ago
Reply to  Ward William

Most crossovers have the same driver engagement and excitement as a washing machine, so if the difference between a Rav4 and a CR-V is that one supports Android Auto and the other doesn’t, it would sway my choice.

BobWellington
BobWellington
23 days ago

Good ol’ Apple thinkin’ different again…

ESO
ESO
24 days ago

Just one more reason that I will never worship at the altar of Apple…

Ben
Ben
24 days ago

I don’t own any Apple devices and likely never will because I absolutely detest all of their user interfaces. Every time I get stuck using an Apple iAnything I am astounded that they have any customers, never mind the dominant market position.

That said, Apple has always been obsessed with minimalism to a fault, so they’re probably the perfect choice for modern car interiors. >:-(

EricTheViking
EricTheViking
22 days ago
Reply to  Ben

“…with minimalism to a fault…”

Yup, Apple still sticks with 8 GB as base memory in the Mac for many years. Wanna more? Gimme us your arm for 16 GB and another arm for 24 GB. Of course, you can use Siri to launch the apps, type the e-mail, and browse the Internet if you don’t have both arms.

Cray Cray Supercomputer
Cray Cray Supercomputer
19 days ago
Reply to  Ben

Apple assumes that their users are stupid and incapable of anything complex. Their design is a study in condescension and form over function.

Hell, it took them _years_ to put a second button on their mouse because they thought it would overwhelm their poor idiot users. When they finally did add a second button, they acted like they invented the idea.

Ricardo Mercio
Ricardo Mercio
24 days ago

It looks like they want to recoup their lost Apple Car research by repurposing its central mind into a parasitic brain-worm that attaches itself to other manufacturers’ vehicles and effectively turns them into Mindflayers Apple Cars.

D-Dog
D-Dog
24 days ago

Jason, I think you’re focusing on the wrong part of the lawsuit text. Yes, access to more screens is interesting, but Apple wants access to the sensors and gauges. In other words, they want access to user data. They will be able to know how much gas we have and automatically suggest the nearest gas station that paid for their service. They will know how fast we’re driving, our GPS data (they already have that), whether the passenger’s seat is occupied, how hard we brake, the VINs of all the cars using the service and all of the DOT information that comes with that, the current maintenance status of the vehicle, on and on…

Access to the sensors and gauges will allow Apple to build a massive set of marketable data that has hitherto been untapped. This is scary, but it’s a logical progression in the big data market. If Apple does it, Google will follow suit. In all likelihood, Google is already working on it. This is a big idea that could fundamentally change how we interact with the automotive industry, just as iTunes changed the way we interact with record stores. I’m curious to see where this will take us.

D-Dog
D-Dog
23 days ago
Reply to  D-Dog

This is the kind of thing I’m talking about. Our data belongs to whomever can grab it. https://www.nytimes.com/2024/03/22/technology/gm-onstar-driver-data.html

Data
Data
24 days ago

In Demolition Man all restaurants are Taco Bell (except in other markets where it was Pizza Hut). Apple was going to make their own car but recently aborted that plan. It appears they have decided that in the future, all cars are Apple cars.

PlatinumZJ
PlatinumZJ
24 days ago

I use an iPod touch for my music; it doesn’t have CarPlay, so vehicles just recognize it as a plain ol’ iPod, but I know one day I’ll have to replace it with iPhone, and I really don’t want to have to deal with crap like this. (I still have my 5th gen iPod, but it has audio issues)

AceRimmer
AceRimmer
22 days ago
Reply to  PlatinumZJ

Hell yea, Team iPod! I have no Apple products, and never will, except the trusty iPod for my car. And it has AA/ACP. It’s still my best solution for playlists, audio quality, simplicity, etc.

Daniel MacDonald
Daniel MacDonald
24 days ago

Big L for Apple on this one-and I have been a big proponent of car play. Recently installed an Apple car play stereo on my wife’s 2005 Vibe and it was a big upgrade. But this makes 0 sense and is a total overreach, that worse yet makes me think a lot of companies will stop offering car play and then we’ll be stuck with whatever garbage flavor of bad UX they’ve internally developed. I was watching a Throttle House video yesterday of the new Z where they observed that somehow CarPlay ran faster on the Z that’s it’s native infotainment GUI!

All these $%*!#$ companies trying too hard to get more market share instead of staying in their lane. Of course if the car companies actually took digital UX seriously especially as they foist more and more of it on the public maybe car play + android auto wouldn’t have become essentially mandatory.

And this all ignores the fact that the whole screen thing in cars is mostly not an end user driven desire. At what point has any of us as a passenger been sitting there being like “oh if only I had a pano screen in front of me to tinker with.” The whole thing reeks of sales and marketing driven feature bloat including hardware. As I see it a lot of what’s driven the screens was adding more and more features that needed buttons/controls for activation and there is a point where high button count is just as bad as terrible touchscreen UI/UX. But this seems to be this chicken and the egg self fulfilling downward spiral where it’s like well we want NAV and we’ve added a couple features why don’t we just put the buttons in the infotainment to-oh no we have infotainment we can add all kinds of stupid features and just put the controls in the infotainment! Genius-wilson you get a raise. Literally the only feature I want a screen for is nav. Really at the end of the day that’s all I truly even need on my smart phone. I don’t need apps, I dont’ need ambient lighting, I don’t need to change various other modes. The whole thing just feels like the worst kind of lazy product development.

PL71 Enthusiast
PL71 Enthusiast
24 days ago

All these $%*!#$ companies trying too hard to get more market share instead of staying in their lane.

But but but how will they be a real company if their market cap doesn’t exponentially approach infinity???????????? SOMEBODY THINK OF THE SHAREHOLDERS

For real though Apple is one of the greediest, anti-consumer companies on the planet. They represent all that is wrong with the corporate world today and need to get smacked down harder and more often.

Daniel MacDonald
Daniel MacDonald
24 days ago

Lol for real-well and all these car companies jealous of the admittedly stupid share prices of a lot of tech companies and trying to figure out how to court investors to drive up their own stock.

Unclewolverine
Unclewolverine
24 days ago

Just further solidifies my intention to drive my XJ until the heat death of the universe.

Elhigh
Elhigh
24 days ago

Or, just bear with me…

No screens in cars.

What you do with your phone is up to you. Connect it to the stereo or don’t. Navigate with paper maps or Maps or whatever it was that Apple used to tell my kid to turn right to go to Florida when he was in Alabama, looking at the Gulf.

Throw the companies out. I buy my car, I put what tech I want in. We could mandate a big empty spot in the dash for whatever that might be, or choose to leave it empty and slide an Altoids tin in there and a couple of granola bars. But no outside companies beyond the manufacturers unless I invite them.

Just a thought.

Greg
Greg
24 days ago

WOW.

Initially, I was so disappointed GMC moved away from apple and went with a google designed infotainment and in-house system.

Now, now I am happy as a claim. And think it was a brilliant move. Honestly this is creepy as all hell from Apple and really turns me against them more than any other thing they have done.

Give me a fucking charging block with my $1500 product assholes.

I don’t think anything the feds do ever results in anything but a wrist slap, especially to a company as rich as Apple, here is to hoping. And good pick up to catch that.

Ben
Ben
24 days ago
Reply to  Greg

Give me a fucking charging block with my $1500 product assholes.

Do you really need one? At this point I have a lifetime supply of USB chargers and cables. If no device included one for the rest of my life I’m pretty sure I’d be just fine.

Greg
Greg
24 days ago
Reply to  Ben

yes, I have bought multiple charging blocks over the past few years. Mainly because those assholes keep changing their charging set up to force me to. I’m glad you enjoy sliding quality and offerings for raised prices, but it’s not my cup of tea.

Last edited 24 days ago by Greg
Turbotictac
Turbotictac
24 days ago

I can’t imagine any major automakers being willing to limit their customer base to just Apple owners, unless they did some sort of special Apple edition which is unlikely also. The connectivity of things is a strong reason I have little to no interest in anything that has come out recently.

Chill Phil
Chill Phil
24 days ago

Apple Car play works fine, but the Apple Maps app is garbage compared to Google Maps app. I recently made the switch from Android to Apple and have to say I am disappointed with the move. While Androids offer a much better experience I still don’t want them running everything in my car.

Geekycop .
Geekycop .
24 days ago

It’s not just that they want the entire car to run their system, the way the governments claim is phrased it appears that they are attempting to use that extra leverage to force us plebs to buy an overpriced brick of their nickle and dime the end user to death technology to make the car’s features work.

In case you hadn’t guessed I’m not an apple fan and have detested their products since having to use the IIe in middle school.

Max Headbolts
Max Headbolts
24 days ago
Reply to  Geekycop .

I’m not sure how I’m being nickle and dimed by my iPhone. It was expensive, sure, I’d love it to be nickles and dimes in retrospect.
I haven’t spent an Apple dime on the used MacBookPro I bought (checks notes) 9 years ago, and it’s still chugging along just fine.

Geekycop .
Geekycop .
23 days ago
Reply to  Max Headbolts

I got handed an iphone for work a couple years back and had to pay out of pocket to activate apps that I needed to communicate with my parolees. The state had to reimburse me as it was their equipment but red tape meant that it took six months. Then one of my officers decided to do some inappropriate and criminal things and locked his iphone so it cost us another several hundred dollars to get it unlocked so that we could access the evidence of his wrongdoing and put him in prison where he belongs (lets just say there were victims in an especially vulnerable position so he’s gone down for as long as possible in the state short of death row and I’m glad to have helped put him there.) But I digress, in short in not a fan of having to pay for basic services that were already integrated into my personal phone, and I just really dont like the apple operating system, I’m sure its intuitive for some but I just can’t make it work with my thought patterns. It just doesn’t work for me and my aberrant way of thinking through logic trees.

Ottomottopean
Ottomottopean
24 days ago
Reply to  Geekycop .

If you don’t use an iPhone already then there is no Apple CarPlay option for you. This only applies if you want to enable CarPlay so it would not require the purchase of an iPhone to use the car.

VanGuy
VanGuy
24 days ago

Can someone clarify for me…they “just” (still egregious, mind you) want CarPlay to take over all screens when in use, but otherwise a given car could still also be compatible with Android Auto?

My Goat Ate My Homework
My Goat Ate My Homework
24 days ago

oh sweet, how long until they require proprietary Apple lightning plugs (or whatever the hell they insist on) in the dash instead of USBC used by literally everyone else in the world? Then, they’ll require that there is no on-board memory and to even use presets on your radio every car has to use the Apple Cloud (and pay a subscription of course).

Scottingham
Scottingham
24 days ago

They thankfully lost that argument in Europe and are switching over all new models to USB C. That almost got me to consider getting an iPhone for my next phone, but quickly came to my senses. They will always try to pull stuff like this.

OnlyFlans
OnlyFlans
24 days ago

Apple: All of your base (models) are belong to us.

Rafael
Rafael
24 days ago

There’s a very simple solution, automakers: give us real gauges again for the important stuff, and keep all the fluffy info on the same screen as the tainment.

Steve Wille
Steve Wille
24 days ago

I think Jason missed the real automotive tie-in here. It does not concern if CarPlay, Apple’s attempt to get peoples’ fucking faces out their phones while driving, or its optional future multi-screen support, or to present car telemetry, constitutes, in some bizarro-world, a form of monopoly. The story instead is another case of tech-ignorant government’s reach exceeding it’s grasp, as happens regularly with automotive regulations, whether it be self-driving tech, electric vehicle mandates, pedestrian-safe pickup bumpers or, Jason, amber taillights.

Querty
Querty
25 days ago

Half of the comments are missing the point – it’s not like the car wouldn’t have it’s own dashboard stuff. The dash UI would only go away if you use CarPlay.

I would not buy a car without CarPlay, but I would also not use CarPlay if it means I have to deal with that crappy dash UI they hinted months ago.

Apple being apple, I still want my CarPlay and my OEM dash UI.

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