5 key facts about Apple’s CarPlay

Smart cars, like those equipped with Apple's freshly announced CarPlay, might earn their name by ensuring your eyes stay on the road and your hands on the wheel as you do all those things that the law doesn’t allow. Making calls, texting, switching songs, and getting directions is front and centre with CarPlay, a feature making its debut in a few cars at the Geneva Motor Show this week.

On cars so equipped, a touchscreen takes up the middle console where control knobs used to be. Before Apple came up with the name CarPlay – and undoubtedly rejected iCar – it was calling the system iOS in the Car.

Apple first introduced the concept last summer at WWDC 2013. “Ninety-five per cent of the cars being sold today have integrated music playback and control from an iOS device but we want to take this integration to a whole other level,” Eddy Cue, Apple Senior Vice President of Internet Software and Services, said when he presented it.

Those who have dropped their BlackBerry of yore for an iPhone might be surprised to find out that CarPlay is built on BlackBerry’s QNX platform, the same OS powering the BlackBerry Q10.

CarPlay will be available on select new car models in the UK, US, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Spain and Switzerland. Here’s what those who get into the driver’s seat can expect.

Siri will be the voice of your car

She’s not exactly KITT, but Siri will be listening to your every command as you drive, via a voice control button built into the steering wheel.

Works with iPhone 5 models

CarPlay plays along with the iPhone 5, 5C and 5S, and those models only.

Apple Maps will get you where you’re going

Um, maybe, that is. Apple Maps has had its ups and downs – and sometimes trouble telling its right from left – but its navigation is built into CarPlay.

Coming to a car near you

Volvo (pictured above), Mercedes-Benz, and Ferrari are showing off cars with CarPlay at the Geneva Motor Show this week. Honda, Hyundai, and Jaguar will also be part of the first CarPlay line-up. Coming up behind them will be BMW, Chevrolet, Ford, Kia, Land Rover, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Opel, Peugeot, Subaru, Suzuki, and Toyota.

Music, sweet music

CarPlay works with Beats Music, iHeartRadio, Spotify, and Stitcher.

For more on the exact ins-and-outs of the system, check out our in-depth look at how Apple’s CarPlay works.