At the 2014 Geneva auto show, Mercedes-Benz demonstrated how Apple CarPlay works. With an iPhone 5 connected to the car's USB port, this icon-based interface was available on the car's center LCD. In the Mercedes-Benz, the driver would use a jog dial on the console to select functions and menu items.
Updated: / Caption: / Photo: Wayne Cunningham/CNET
CarPlay is capable of using multiple screens for its icons, making it expandable. As of this demonstration, the only apps were navigation, messaging, phone, and audio. The four third-party apps also available were iHeartRadio, Spotify, Stitcher, and Beats Music.
Updated: / Caption: / Photo: Wayne Cunningham/CNET
For navigation, CarPlay uses Apple Maps. The maps appear bigger than they would on an iPhone, expanding to the size of whichever LCD is installed in the car. When browsing the map, it shows in plan view, but changes to perspective under route guidance. Although it is not possible to initiate navigation without being in a data connected area, routing will continue when passing through areas where the connection drops for brief times.
Updated: / Caption: / Photo: Wayne Cunningham/CNET
CarPlay emphasizes voice command for most of its functions. For destination entry, you can talk to Siri, or choose from this list of recent and shared addresses. CarPlay will even pull addresses from emails and text messages, including them in this list.
Updated: / Caption: / Photo: Wayne Cunningham/CNET
Route guidance takes into account traffic in similar fashion to Apple Maps and shows information about upcoming turns.
Updated: / Caption: / Photo: Wayne Cunningham/CNET
When accessing Siri, the same wavelength graphic appears on the car's LCD that does on the iPhone.
Updated: / Caption: / Photo: Wayne Cunningham/CNET
For phone calls and messaging, CarPlay draws from the same contacts list stored on the phone.
Updated: / Caption: / Photo: Wayne Cunningham/CNET
Just as on an iPhone, you can see recent text messages, ordered by date and listed by correspondent. However, the interface never shows any text messages. You can have Siri read a text message, and take dictation of text messages to be sent.
Updated: / Caption: / Photo: Wayne Cunningham/CNET
Podcasts can be selected from the Podcasts app.
Updated: / Caption: / Photo: Wayne Cunningham/CNET
The audio app defaults to iTunes Radio stations.
Updated: / Caption: / Photo: Wayne Cunningham/CNET
10
of 16
The audio apps lists Apple's standard music library categories, such as artist and album name. Along with choosing music from these lists, you can also request them by voice from Siri.
Updated: / Caption: / Photo: Wayne Cunningham/CNET
11
of 16
The playback screen overemphasizes the play and skip controls. Album art appears as a subtle background for each track.
Updated: / Caption: / Photo: Wayne Cunningham/CNET
12
of 16
The iHeartRadio app lists favorites and stations geographically close to the car but does not let you search for new stations.
Updated: / Caption: / Photo: Wayne Cunningham/CNET
13
of 16
The nearby stations list works kind of like local radio.
Updated: / Caption: / Photo: Wayne Cunningham/CNET
14
of 16
Mercedes-Benz C-class will be its first model to get the CarPlay feature, which should come out by the end of 2014.
Updated: / Caption: / Photo: Wayne Cunningham/CNET
15
of 16
The standard Mercedes-Benz interface and functions are all still available with CarPlay.
Updated: / Caption: / Photo: Wayne Cunningham/CNET
16
of 16
Up Next

Mercedes-Maybach G650 Landaulet is too much in so many ways