AppleCarPlay was launched in 2014 as a way to integrate iPhone with car dashboards.
Apple Inc said last year that more than 80 per cent of new car sales in the US supported it.
Apple Inc's success on CarPlay explains the auto industry's interest in rumors that Apple Inc plans to build his own car.
In the early 2010s, automakers and their suppliers were excited about building complex applications for car dashboards that went beyond CD players and tiny LED screens.
And Microsoft CorpIn cooperation with other companies, carmakers began to provide map, music and road assistance services, which are usually bundled in upgrade packages. They have established industry standards with large consortia to connect smartphones to cars.
Then Apple Inc came in and changed everything.
Apple Inc launched CarPlay in 2014 as a way to integrate iPhone with car dashboards. Since then, it has been everywhere in the new car.
Apple Inc said last year that more than 80 per cent of new car sales worldwide supported CarPlay. This applies to about 600 new models, including Volkswagen, BMW and Chrysler. Toyota, one of the longest-standing companies, began to add CarPlay to its 2019 models.
The power of smartphones
Most cars use Linux, BlackBerry-based QNX or Alphabet Inc-CL CAndroid Automotive's infotainment operating system runs the screen embedded in the car dashboard. Infotainment systems usually have their own music or mapping software, and car companies sell wireless subscriptions and other upgrades for them.
CarPlay runs on these infotainment operating systems and allows iPhone users to access their most important applications in a more secure way than looking at their phones while driving. With CarPlay, users can call up an Apple or Google map, play Apple Music or Spotify, or send an oral text message home. All this processing takes place on the phone itself.
CarPlay and Android Auto, a competitor's Android program, are not automotive operating systems. Mark Fitzgerald, an analyst at Strategy Analytics, said it was actually a piece of mobile software. In the end, it's like using a car's display screen as an external display for a mobile phone.
Over the years, Apple Inc has also expanded CarPlay to make it more valuable to iPhone owners.
Last summer, Apple Inc and BMW announced that users could use their iPhone to unlock doors and even start engines, while Apple Inc is participating in a standards organization to extend the feature to more carmakers.
Alphabet Inc-CL C has a similar software, called Android Auto, which extends its Android operating system to the dashboard of the car. CarPlay and Android Auto are not mutually exclusive-cars that support one usually support the other. Its popularity is so high that its Android app has been downloaded 100m times by 2020.
A great leap forward in self-driving cars
Apple Inc's success on CarPlay explains the auto industry's interest in rumors that Apple Inc plans to build his own car. If Apple Inc is so successful in taking over the dashboard, maybe the company can turn it into a competitive vehicle.
Apple Inc's final plan is still unclear. It is reported that Apple Inc can still decide to sell software and hardware-an autopilot system-to carmakers instead of designing the car himself.
But if Apple Inc is to enter the auto world, it needs a completely different strategy from CarPlay.
In a report in March, Citi analyst Jim Suva estimated that CarPlay could add $2 billion to Apple Inc's annual service sales.
Apple Inc said he would not charge automakers to use the software. This is not a licensing business. (if so, Apple Inc can be bundled at $750 each, selling 9 million units by 2025, with sales of $6.5 billion, Suva estimates. )
Apple Inc can use his foothold in the automotive field to support more of his ambitions. It is already using its App Store distribution platform to encourage software developers to optimize their applications for cars, such as finding car chargers, ordering food or finding parking spaces. These features will be a core part of the Apple in-car experience. Apple also collects the data needed to run CarPlay, and even if the data is anonymous to ensure user privacy, it provides Apple with a lot of raw information about what people are doing in the car.
But CarPlay cannot provide power for self-driving cars, because self-driving cars need to use a variety of different chips and specialized hardware to use the car.
If Apple Inc sells software to a self-driving car manufacturer, it will take a different form from CarPlay. Google's fragmented automotive market is a case in point: it is building Android Automotive as an automotive operating system, Android Auto as a competitor to CarPlay, and funding the development of Waymo, a self-driving technology company and automotive services that is now a sister company of Alphabet.
Still, CarPlay's success may create an inherent demand for Apple Car-or at least ensure that consumers don't think the idea is crazy.
Apple Inc usually releases updates to CarPlay software at the annual developer conference WWDC, which begins on June 7 this year.