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Apple unveils minor CarPlay update at WWDC 2020

Apple's lightweight, in-car operating system just got a little tweak at WWDC, but it's still lagging behind Google's Android Auto.

Yep, custom wallpapers. How about that.

This story is part of WWDC 2022, CNET's complete coverage from and about Apple's annual developers conference.

Have you been waiting for a major update to Apple CarPlay, something that might add a new UI or on-phone usage ala Google's Android Auto? Yeah, we are too, and while sadly that didn't come to pass at this year's Apple Worldwide Developers Conference on Monday, Apple did at least announce a few minor tweaks.

Like what? How do you feel about custom wallpapers? Yeah, OK, not too exciting, but the company is offering three new categories of apps: parking, food ordering and EV charging. While the first two are clearly helpful, it's that last one that will perhaps be most useful as we see more EVs coming to market, like Ford's Mustang Mach-E. Indeed, that app will surely be a crucial part of the new Apple Maps EV routing update, also announced at this year's WWDC.

In addition to those direct updates to CarPlay, in-car users will also have access to some of the general improvements coming in iOS 14, like numerous updates to Siri

Apple CarPlay was first introduced at WWDC way back in 2013, back when it was called "iOS in the Car." It wasn't until the following year's Geneva Motor Show that it turned into CarPlay, debuting with Ferrari of all places. In some ways it's come a long way since then, but in other ways has fallen short of some of the innovations Google has since introduced into its own in-car interface, Android Auto. When will it properly catch up? We'll keep on waiting.

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