Apple is reportedly planning to add a ton of new features to CarPlay that would grant it more control over some core functions in a car such as controlling the climate functions, making seat adjustments, wider control over in-car audio hardware, and deeper integration with other sensors such as the speedometer and fuel instruments. The journey of CarPlay has been one of a steady rise so far when it comes to adoption by carmakers, and Apple has also added new capabilities such as digital car keys and third-party navigation app support to rope in more brands as well as users.
And even though the fate of a few features and their widespread adoption remains uncertain, Apple has been expanding the ecosystem of compatible car models steadily over the years. One might also argue that the company is speeding up the CarPlay development in anticipation of its hotly debated self-driving electric car project, but the departure of top executives from the car division and Apple’s radio silence suggests that the car project is still years away.
Bloomberg now reports that Apple is working to expand the range of CarPlay controls so that it can access more sensors and instruments inside a car for functionalities such as tweaking AC output, seat adjustments, and deeper audio hardware interaction to name a few. Internally known as the “IronHeart” project, Apple wants CarPlay to let users access the air conditioning fans and defroster systems, and take outside temperature and humidity readings by using the onboard sensors. Coming to the audio hardware part, Apple is aiming for access to speakers, equalizers, tweeters, and sub-woofers to make sound adjustments.
As part of the project, Apple also aims for CarPlay to be able to control the cluster instruments linked to the speedometer, engine, and fuel systems. And going a step further towards the goal of a comprehensive in-car remote control system, Apple is also working on functionalities that allow users to adjust their seats and armrests. To achieve such deep integration, Apple plans to take the same route as the one it follows with frameworks such as HomeKit for controlling smart home devices and HealthKit that collects health and fitness data from Apple Watch. However, it is unclear when the aforementioned CarPlay upgrades will be officially announced, assuming Apple doesn’t pull the plugs on the project in its entirety after gauging the market reception.
A lot depends on carmakers and how keen they are towards handing over more controls of their car to Apple’s in-car software. And with an approach that mirrors HealthKit and HomeKit, it will be up to carmakers to implement only those features that they like. In a nutshell, some cars might allow CarPlay to make seat adjustments, while others might only bake in support of climate control. Interestingly, with the release of iOS 15, Apple took a step back by removing certain features from the SiriKit framework linked to CarPlay, which means the voice assistant won’t have much of a role in the ‘IronHeart’ project.