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Volvo brings Apple CarPlay to its XC90 crossover

Both current and future owners will be able to take advantage of the tech giant's smartphone connectivity system.

Volvo XC90 + Apple CarPlay
CarPlay won't take up the whole 9.0-inch touchscreen, so drivers can still access other vehicle functions without navigating through additional menus.

When Apple announced CarPlay, which allows drivers to access vital iPhone functions with less distraction, Volvo was one of several launch partners. But since that announcement the automaker had not implemented Apple's software into any of its vehicles in the US. That changes this week, however, as CarPlay is now available for the 2016 XC90 crossover.

Upon plugging your iPhone into the XC90's USB port, part of the car's Sensus touchscreen infotainment system will shift over to a decidedly Apple aesthetic. From there, you will be able to access a wide variety of phone apps, instead of having to use the phone itself. The system also includes Siri, Apple's voice-based assistant, who will read your text messages and offer the chance to reply, all using nothing but your voice.

CarPlay won't take up every pixel on the XC90's 9.0-inch touchscreen, so the driver still has fast access to standard vehicle functions. Other iterations of CarPlay occupy the entire screen, requiring additional button presses on the driver's part.

If you already own a new XC90, all it takes to activate CarPlay is a quick trip to the dealer. The required software flash should take no longer than an hour. However, if the vehicle was purchased after November 23, 2015, it'll cost you an additional $300.

Android Auto, Google's smartphone-in-the-car solution, will arrive on Volvo products some time in 2016. Its implementation will likely follow the same formula as laid out with CarPlay.