Polestar is finally adding Apple CarPlay to its all-electric Polestar 2 sedan via an over-the-air software update, opening the automaker to a large swathe of iPhone-wielding car shoppers.
Polestar said in a tweet June 6 it would release the update later this month. The company tweeted an update Wednesday noting the change. Its Volvo sister brand will incorporate Apple CarPlay into its battery-electric SUVs later this summer.
The move is notable because Polestar has been deeply aligned with Google. Polestar was the first company to offer Google’s Android Automotive operating system, open source software that runs on Linux and is used to control everything from the radio and vehicle settings to navigation and climate control.
As a result, Polestar has only offered Android Auto, which shouldn’t be confused with Android Automotive OS. Like Apple CarPlay, Android Auto is a secondary interface that lies on top of an operating system and lets users project certain apps and functions from their smartphone onto to the vehicle’s center display. CarPlay allows iPhone users to change music, use apps and communicate through Siri.
While most new EVs come compatible with both Apple’s and Google’s systems, Polestar was a hold out. (Although its upcoming Polestar 3 will likely include CarPlay from the outset.) The addition of CarPlay advances Apple’s quest to beat Google in the race to dominate the dashboard.
The announcement follows Apple’s preview of its next-generation CarPlay system this month at the 2022 Apple Worldwide Developers Conference. The iPhone maker said the new system will power the vehicle’s entire instrument cluster and provide drivers a number of ways to customize the screen’s look and feel.
Both Apple and Google have been finding more ways to take advantage of the driver experience, including the data and marketing opportunities it generates. That’s especially true as digital screens become larger and smartphones begin to triangulate with smart home devices.
Meanwhile, CarPlay is about to undergo a dramatic metamorphosis. Expanding into vehicle diagnostics suggests that Apple intends for CarPlay to function as an operating system, similar to Google’s Android Automotive OS.