At Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) in 2022, the tech company teased a version of Apple CarPlay that would take over every screen in a vehicle — infotainment, digital gauge cluster, passenger display, you name it. A carmaker would work with Apple to create a brand-appropriate skin, a vehicle’s gauge cluster showing a series of gauges built in that skin atop Apple CarPlay. This would extend to radio tuning and adjusting the HVAC controls in vehicles without physical knobs, and it would mean true phone projection to vehicle displays instead of the phone needing to communicate with an in-car version of an app. At the time, Apple said integration would begin “late next year,” an eventual roster of potential partners including Acura, Audi, Ford, Honda, Infiniti, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lincoln, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Polestar, Porsche, Renault and Volvo. It’s now late next year, mockup images revealing that Aston Martin and Porsche will lead the way with this.
Behind the skin, the new CarPlay integration gives an iPhone access to the vehicle’s sensor suite in what Apple calls a “privacy-friendly way” that doesn’t track or store vehicle info. This is how the app can put the vehicle vitals on show like the speedo and tach, fuel level gauge and coolant temp. The Aston Martin and Porsche renderings make clear how this could be differentiated. The Aston Martin sample above looks like it could be a regular manufacturer setup running CarPlay. Two digital gauges in the cluster suggest Aston Martin’s ornate analog dials, separated by an album cover for the current media. The infotainment screen is broken into a familiar partition of three areas.
The Porsche example hints at what’s possible thanks to greater widget integration. Set in a German-market car, it doesn’t reflect any Porsche vehicle interior we’re aware of. We’re going to guess this is a battery-powered model as well, the large speedo readout in the center placed inside a gauge circle that isn’t a tachometer. On the left inside the cluster, a German speed limit sign sits inside an analog-look dial showing kilometers per hour; to the right, details about trip information. The infotainment screen in the center shows a standard CarPlay layout against Porsche’s heritage houndstooth background. Further right, in front of the passenger, there’s the Apple calendar app, media info, navigation info, and the weather. The layout of the infotainment screen and the number of widgets in the passenger display indicate there are going to be a lot of options.
Aston Martin apparently plans to roll this out with its updated range of cars coming in 2024. Porsche is less specific about a debut, spokesperson Calvin Kim telling The Verge the integration will “go one level further” than currently done in Porsche vehicles. Of note, the latest Cayenne already lets owners control HVAC and ambient lighting by using the MyPorsche app in CarPlay. We might expect this next-level evolution with the delayed but imminent battery-electric Macan.