iOS in the Car is real and now called CarPlay. Along with several automakers, Apple announced the platform this morning ahead of the Geneva Auto Show where partners Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo all announced that they’d begin shipping CarPlay-enabled vehicles to drivers this week.
Apple also announced a handful of automakers set to support the platform in the coming months including Ford, the once stalwart of Microsoft’s automobile push. But Ford tells me going forward that it will continue to work with Microsoft as well as Apple.
Ford is working to integrate Apple’s CarPlay in the future. We will continue to work with Apple, Microsoft and many other technology companies to develop and continuously improve our in-car connectivity systems for customers. One of the many great things about SYNC is that it is device agnostic and compatible with nearly any mobile operating system, including Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android.
Ford is essentially keeping its options open. A rumor recently hit stating that Ford was looking to move its Sync infotainment system off of Microsoft’s platform and onto BlackBerry’s QNX. The company downplayed the rumor, stating that the company is taking offers from various vendors.
Ford Sync launched in 2007. Designed by Microsoft and powered by Windows Embedded Automotive operating system, the platform has seen numerous updates and revisions since launch. Even early on, the system supported 3rd party apps. It’s largely considered to be the first so-called smart infotainment system but updates have yet to address fundamental user interaction issues. The latest iteration, MyFord Touch is a mess to use.
If Volvo’s demo of CarPlay is any indication, the system will run on top of existing vehicle infotainment systems. CarPlay could, in theory, run on Microsoft Sync. But running iOS on top of a Windows variant seems as sacrilege as installing a Ferrari F138 F1 engine in a Sprint Cup car.