Apple unveiled its brand new next-generation CarPlay nearly two years ago alongside iOS 16 at WWDC 2022. Fast-forward to WWDC 2024, and we’ve heard about even more details about how the new software will work.

The goal is for Apple’s CarPlay to take over every screen in your car and offer even more functionality (such as controlling in-car functions like the A/C) “by deeply integrating with a car’s hardware.” But it looks like not everyone will be able to use the next generation of CarPlay.

Apple’s next-gen CarPlay is going fully wireless. If your car doesn’t support wireless CarPlay, you’re out of luck; no wires, no CarPlay.

Why will the new CarPlay only support wireless connections?

Apple’s new CarPlay isn’t just about mirroring your iPhone. It wants to handle everything from music to speedometers and climate control. To do this seamlessly, it needs a constant, real-time data stream from your car. Speaking to The Verge, Apple’s Tanya Kancheva said that “the stability and performance of the wireless connection are essential,” because of how much gets relayed from your iPhone.

It’s a little questionable, right? Wired connections are much more reliable. But Apple wants to do even more with the new version of CarPlay. The biggest example is that it would need to start when you turn the car on, to allow you to see the instrument cluster. You can’t wait to plug in an iPhone for that. So there is some reason behind the switch to wireless only. 

However, wireless connections aren’t always stable. Apple knows this, and they’re focusing hard on ensuring smooth connectivity. But any hiccup, and you could lose access to vital car functions, which is more serious than your music cutting out. Apple has made some changes to the software to make this connection more stable, but it’ll be interesting to see how well it works.

Apple’s next-generation CarPlay will only be available on future models, with very few manufacturers having committed to its launch. Apple also hasn’t shared much about how long its current CarPlay offering will persist once the next-gen rollout starts. With this new revelation, it also seems that future models that don’t have wireless CarPlay functionality will be limited to the previous iteration of CarPlay. 

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