Apple's CarPlay comes to iOS

Though you'll have to wait to buy a CarPlay enabled car, Apple has gotten drivers one step closer. The CarPlay update is now available for iOS.

Courtesy of Volvo Car Group
Volvo shows off a CarPlay systen in the Volvo SC90. CarPlay allows iPhones to plug into cars so drivers can call up maps, make calls, and request music with voice commands or a touch on a vehicle's dashboard screen.

CarPlay hasn't appeared in actual cars yet, but Apple has already begun laying the groundwork for its arrival via the latest update to its mobile operating system, iOS 7.1.

The update began rolling out yesterday, and it contains the CarPlay app. If you haven't been able to download it yet, don't worry: iOS 7.1 has been in the works for some time, and it's been widely anticipated, so Apple's servers are stretched thin at the moment. Most of our colleagues are stuck on the "Checking for Update" screen. Hopefully, the situation will improve long before CarPlay arrives on dashboards.

CarPlay debuted at the Geneva Auto Show last week. According to Apple, it will be offered on select Ferrari, Honda, Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz, and Volvo models this year. In the not-too-distant future, it will also be an option on vehicles from BMW, Chevrolet, Ford, Jaguar, Kia, Land Rover, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru, and Toyota -- in other words, most major auto brands.

That said, there are a couple of conspicuously empty spots on CarPlay's dance card. There's Buick, Cadillac, GMC, and Lincoln, of course, but the most glaring absence is the entire Volkswagen family, which contains Audi and Porsche.

We know that Audi is going to offer an Android OS on its dashboards -- but then again, so are GM, Honda, and Hyundai, which are clearly planning to offer CarPlay, too. Couldn't VW offer both? Or have the folks in Wolfsburg had a spat with the team in Cupertino? We can't say for sure, but given Volkswagen's uphill battle to become the world's biggest automaker by 2018, you'd think the company might want to offer customers every bell and whistle possible.

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