CarPlay Praised as Wider Rollout Begins, but Lacks Smarts of Google Maps and Google Now

Despite being announced just over two years ago, CarPlay is only now becoming a built-in option in select new 2015 and 2016 vehicles by Chevrolet, Honda, Volkswagen and other car manufacturers. The in-dash system enables drivers to use Siri for hands-free access to Maps, Phone, Messages, Music, Podcasts and third-party apps such as Spotify, Rdio, iHeartRadio and MLB At Bat.

Corvette CarPlay

CarPlay touchscreen on dashboard of 2016 Corvette Stingray (Image: WSJ)

With CarPlay starting to become a feature car buyers will be considering, Joanna Stern of The Wall Street Journal has published a timely review of CarPlay after testing the dashboard software inside a 2016 Corvette Stingray on a New York City road trip between midtown Manhattan and Rockaway Beach in Queens. Overall, she offered praise for CarPlay, but noted the service "isn’t a complete joyride" and lacks the useful functionality of some Google services.

Stern first noted a positive experience using Siri to control Apple Music and make requests:

But DJ Siri to the rescue! All week she has accurately taken my requests, playing them via Apple Music (but not Spotify or any other third-party apps). “Siri, Play ‘Little Red Corvette.’ ” “Siri, play me Madonna’s top songs.” “Siri, who sings this song?” She does it all—though I wouldn’t object if she were a tad faster.

She also gave high marks to CarPlay's messaging capabilities and Siri's accuracy at transcribing words:

Text-message integration is where CarPlay feels miles ahead of any competition from car makers or even Google. […] Siri was, surprisingly, better at helping me respond than Google’s built-in voice assistant. Siri accurately transcribed my words nearly every time. (She forgivably struggled a bit when I was driving with the roof down.)

On the contrary, Stern found Apple Maps to be inferior to Google Maps at providing routing based on traffic conditions:

When I got in the car to go to my friend’s baby naming, Apple Maps routed me through midtown Manhattan, showing a blissfully traffic-ignorant blue line all the way to the destination. Google Maps, however, knew that Park Avenue was closed. It routed me to the FDR Drive, on Manhattan’s east side. Ignoring Apple, and choosing Google’s route, I got there on time.

The review concluded that Apple's services are "stuck in the slow lane" compared to Google Maps and Google Now:

Siri also struggles when it comes to finding businesses. Sure, she can identify the closest gas stations, and she knows mega-retailers like Starbucks and Target. But when I told her to go to my favorite coffee shop in my New Jersey hometown, she found it… in Limerick, Ireland. Google knew what I was talking about right away.

Google Now might have even guessed I wanted to go there, even before I searched. Culling information from your email, calendar and Web searches, Google’s prediction-based assistant swings into action when you plug your Android phone into an Android Auto-equipped car. In addition to displaying core information like weather and reminders, it anticipates your next destination.

Nevertheless, Stern described CarPlay as the future of in-car technology and said that, if she were in the market for a car right now, she would add Apple's in-car software to her want list. The full-length review is a worthwhile read and provides a side-by-side comparison of CarPlay's maps, messaging, music, voice control and home screen features with Google's rival in-dash system Android Auto.

Related Roundup: CarPlay

Top Rated Comments

cariacou Avatar
75 months ago
my ipad mini on the dashboard is just as good for $200 and can get upgraded every year for a modest price...

- - - - - - - - - - - -
for people who claimed carplay will be just as easy to update:
- software updates are free on any ios devices. and they WILL come earlier than software updates on carplay devices (3rd party hardware always comes last.. think about android...).
- hardware updates are ... hum.. very expensive for carplay. A $1k bulky device that requires tools to install/uninstall & that gets depreciated so quickly. you won't get much $ out of it when selling it.

the ipad mini, however, you can go by buying the new one and selling your old one every time a new one is released for about $100 out of pocket.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
splogue Avatar
75 months ago
Great. Now we're all gonna have to get a new car every two years.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
AngerDanger Avatar
75 months ago
CarPlay also lacks support for a few necessary apps, like:



Attachment Image
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
nagromme Avatar
75 months ago
Great. Now we're all gonna have to get a new car every two years.
You have it backwards.

Previous car in-dash systems did not receive much if anything in the way of updates--until you buy a new car! (Or a new third-party head unit, maybe.) But with CarPlay, the brains are offloaded to phone software, which Apple can and does update WITHOUT buying a new car.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
nsayer Avatar
75 months ago

Culling information from your email, calendar and Web searches, Google’s prediction-based assistant swings into action
Yeah, no thanks.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Shlooky Avatar
75 months ago
All apps would struggle if the top is down or the windows are open. Just the way it is with microphones and wind noise.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

apple watch ecg

Apple Watch Likely to Gain Blood Pressure, Blood Glucose, and Blood Alcohol Monitoring

Monday May 3, 2021 4:03 am PDT by
The Apple Watch may gain the ability to measure blood pressure, blood glucose, and blood alcohol levels, according to newly-revealed information about one of Apple's chosen business partners. Apple has been revealed to be the largest customer of the British electronics start-up Rockley Photonics, The Telegraph reports. Rockley Photonics has developed non-invasive optical sensors for...
airtags teardown tile mat galaxy smarttag

iFixit Shares AirTag Teardown Revealing 'Impressively Compact' Design Compared to Tile Mate and Galaxy SmartTag

Sunday May 2, 2021 4:54 am PDT by
iFixit has shared the first of its two-part series in tearing down Apple's AirTag item tracker, revealing that Apple had to make impressive design decisions to achieve its small design, including rethinking the speaker layout. For comparison, iFixit compared Apple's AirTag to the Tile Mate and the Samsung Galaxy SmartTag. Compared to the competition, AirTag is the smallest in size, with the...
facebook instargram updated att prompt 1

Facebook and Instagram Ask Users to Enable App Tracking in Order to Keep Services 'Free of Charge'

Sunday May 2, 2021 1:22 pm PDT by
As a way to convince users to enable tracking across other apps and websites, Facebook is deploying the tactic of telling users that they must enable tracking as part of the App Tracking Transparency framework in iOS 14.5 if they want to help keep Facebook and Instagram "free of charge." App Tracking Transparency or ATT is the newest privacy feature to come to iPhone and iPad devices as part ...
Flat 2021 MacBook Pro Mockup Feature 1

Mini-LED Display Production Improving for Redesigned MacBook Pro Models Later This Year

Monday May 3, 2021 8:33 am PDT by
Apple supplier TSMT, a key vendor involved in the production of mini-LED displays in the newly announced 12.9-inch iPad Pro, has been able to address technical challenges for the production of mini-LED displays to be used in the upcoming 14 and 16-inch redesigned MacBook Pro models. As reported by DigiTimes, TSMT had initially been facing production constraints with the circuit board and...
Foldable iPhone 2023 Feature Yellow

Kuo: Apple to Launch 8-Inch Foldable iPhone in 2023

Sunday May 2, 2021 8:43 pm PDT by
Apple is working to launch a foldable iPhone with an 8-inch QHD+ flexible OLED display in 2023, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said today in a note to investors that was seen by MacRumors. Based on our latest industry survey, we forecast that Apple will likely launch a foldable iPhone with an 8-inch QHD+ flexible OLED display in 2023, with SDC as the exclusive display supplier and Samsung Foundry...
iOS 14 on iPhone feature emergency

Apple Releases iOS and iPadOS 14.5.1 With Fixes for App Tracking Transparency Bug, WebKit Security Issues

Monday May 3, 2021 10:04 am PDT by
Apple today released iOS and iPadOS 14.5.1, minor security updates that come just a week after the release of the iOS 14.5 update. There is also a companion watchOS 7.4.1 update for Apple Watch and an iOS 12.5.3 update for older iPhone and iPad devices that don't support Apple's latest operating system versions. According to Apple's release notes, the update fixes a bug with App Tracking...
General Music and AirPod 3 Feature

Rumor: Apple to Announce Third-Generation AirPods and HiFi Apple Music Tier in 'Coming Weeks'

Saturday May 1, 2021 3:57 am PDT by
Citing sources within the music industry, Hits Double Daily reports that Apple is preparing to launch a new HiFi Apple Music tier in the "coming weeks," which will come alongside the release of the rumored third-generation AirPods. According to the report, the new tier, which will offer high-fidelity music streaming, will cost the same $9.99 monthly subscription as the current individual...
Top Stories 58 Feature 1

Top Stories: iOS 14.5 Released, AirTag Launch, New iMac and iPad Pro Pre-Orders

Saturday May 1, 2021 6:00 am PDT by
After nearly three months of beta testing, Apple this week finally released iOS 14.5, the company's biggest update since the iOS 14 launch last September. One of the main new features included in the update is support for AirTags, Apple's item trackers that also finally became available this week some two years after their existence first leaked. Apple this week also began taking orders for...
tile sticker e1570533758981

Tile CEO: 'We Welcome Competition From Apple, But We Think It Needs to Be Fair'

Tuesday May 4, 2021 9:51 am PDT by
Just after Apple announced its AirTags, Tile CEO CJ Prober relayed his concerns about competing with Apple in the tracking space, and said that Tile would ask Congress to investigate Apple's business practices specific to Find My and item trackers. Prober this week did an interview with Bloomberg, where he further expanded on Tile's complaints about Apple and why he feels that Tile is...
apple music album cover art

iOS 14.6 Beta 1 Code Hints at Upcoming HiFi Apple Music Support

Saturday May 1, 2021 10:41 am PDT by
Apple is laying the groundwork for adding HiFi support to Apple Music which would offer Apple Music subscribers and owners of compatible devices, such as certain models of AirPods, access to high-fidelity audio streaming, according to code within the iOS 14.6 beta discovered by MacRumors. Earlier today, a report claimed that Apple will announce a new $9.99 per month Apple Music tier that...