Your iPhone is not only a helpful home assistant, but also a handy car companion. However, its small display can prove to be inadequate for diving purposes, not to mention a dangerous distraction that is prohibited in many countries. Which is precisely why Apple’s Car Play, unveiled at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show, is gaining traction as an essential connectivity solution for iPhone and infotainment system integration. Dozens of vendors now offer direct Carplay integration (Apple lists the most notable here). Also available are retrofit kits for vehicles with a 2-DIN slot. Vendors include Alpine, Clarion, Pioneer, Kenwood and Sony, all of which leverage CarPlay to bring iOS apps and even HomeKit control to your car – via USB, Lightning or Bluetooth.
When your iPhone is not connected, your CarPlay-compatible radio can serve as a standard yet high-quality AM/FM tuner. Once you connect your iPhone, some settings become available under iOS Settings > General > Carplay. The first time you connect, you’ll see the Carplay logo on a gray background. On the capacitive touch screen of the CarPlay-compatible system, you can engage all apps and features with a fingertip, but for obvious reasons, it’s best to always use Siri and keep your eyes on the road. CarPlay-compatible devices come with their own microphone or use the one built into your car.
Carplay and Siri
Siri and driving go hand in hand. Simply say, “Hey Siri” and issue a voice command to call a contact, play music, and dictate or listen to messages. Even Whatsapp is supported. And even though CarPlay does not yet support Apple Home and other HomeKit-enabled apps, you can still control your home via Siri.
Use HomeKit with Carplay
With the exception of macOS, all of Apple’s Siri-enabled platforms support HomeKit. Thus, CarPlay can also be used to interact with your home via Siri voice commands and queries. Although, unlike your iPhone, your CarPlay-compatible system won’t display your question or an answer as text. Instead, you will only hear Siri report, for example, the temperature in your living room. Of course, you can also control your HomeKit-enabled accessories, like thermostats and lights. All this even while other apps are running. As long as your iPhone is connected to the internet while driving.
This short video shows a few examples. (Bear in mind that we shot this video while the car was stationary to avoid camera-shake)