Last week I was on short holidays with my family and I rented a car. They upgraded me to a BMW 3 series combi (wagon) which was perfect for my family’s needs. This was a new car and I haven’t driven the newest BMWs lately so I was kind of concerned if I’ll get around to understand their infotainment system. Luckily all I had to figure out was how to connect my iPhone Mini with Bluetooth to the system and I was set, as the car was equipped with wireless CarPlay. Here’s why it was brilliant:
With CarPlay I have everything I know and love at my fingertips!
I have all three navigation apps: Waze, Google Maps and Apple Maps. I can play music with the Apple Music. I can listen to podcasts in Overcast and I can listen to Audiobooks with Audible. And I can call people directly from my address book. Using audio calling or WhatsApp or whatever.
Thanks to CarPlay, I feel like at home again!
My main family car back at home also has CarPlay so I’m completely used to it. Now I’m in a foreign country, renting a car I don’t really know well and yet, I feel familiar, because I have the same CarPlay so I have basically the same options I have at home.
I don’t need to figure out if the car has navigation system or how it works (and how crappy the input there works!). And most of all, I don’t need to hold my phone in any way while I’m driving the car. I just connect it to charge if necessary and drive the car, interacting with apps from the phone right on the dashboard.
Using systems like CarPlay (or Android Phone) makes all the infotainment systems look familiar. The car feels familiar!
And that’s the key 🔑.
The car feels familiar and as powerful as my car back at home. I am in control.
So really, all the car makers should focus on supporting these two (are there any more?) phone-based infotainment systems and should completely give up on their systems, which are always too old when they hit the market. There’s no point in doing anything else. I always have my iPhone with me so it should be the starting point to use the car.
It’s safer, nicer and more powerful. It’s just better.
P.S. If you don’t have wireless CarPlay, but only wired, there’s a hack…
My car at home is a 2017 model and it doesn’t have wireless CarPlay yet, but thanks to this dongle it does now. The dongle costs a little over 100 EUR but it’s worth it. It’s a little flakey sometimes and there’s a noticeable lag, but it’s great for shorter trips when I don’t want to connect my iPhone with cable each time. I can keep the phone in my pocket and just use CarPlay.