DOJ lawsuit misunderstands CarPlay | Extended instrument cluster feature shown

Apple unveiled its next generation of CarPlay at WWDC in 2022, then announced last year that its first partners would be Porsche and Aston Martin.

In an interview today, Mercedes-Benz CEO Ola Källenius made it clear that the company has no plans to adopt next-generation CarPlay – despite being touted by Apple as a partner.

Mercedes bails on next-gen CarPlay

On the Decoder podcast this week, The Verge’s Nilay Patel asked Källenius whether Mercedes-Benz would ever support next-generation CarPlay and let Apple “take over all of the infotainment” in a car.

Källenius made it clear in his response that next-generation CarPlay support isn’t in the cards for Mercedes-Benz cars. Instead, the company is focused on its own Mercedes-Benz operating system – which is slated to debut next year.

“The short answer is no, but you need to look at it from a bigger perspective. Everything that’s going on in this digital window into your car and to the world is not just infotainment. It’s not just the music that you listen to or the phone call that you make.

Where there is another revolution going on is assisted and automated driving. So our Mercedes-Benz operating system, which is really the central nervous system in the brain of the whole car, of which the infotainment is one of four domains, the whole operating system, infotainment, automated driving, every single function of the body, exterior and interior of the car, the whole drive system, the battery management, all of that.

It’s all one holistic software architecture. So if you want to create a superior customer experience, you need to think about that as a whole. And only the manufacturer, can tie all of it together.

There’s nobody out there, none of the tech companies, that is even aspiring to do that whole thing.”

Källenius further explained that Mercedes-Benz is teaming up with Google to develop the “the next generation of what a map in a car married to the driving assistance system should look like.”

One sliver of good news

But while Mercedes-Benz has no plans to support next-generation CarPlay, Källenius did make it clear the company has no plans to ditch its current implementation of classic CarPlay, unlike GM.

“We’re not fundamentalists to say, ‘We’re not going to allow a customer to use Apple CarPlay if that’s what they choose to do.’

So we have Apple CarPlay, we have Android Auto. If, for some of the functions, you feel more comfortable with that, then you will switch back and forth. Be my guest, you can get that too.

But to give up the whole cockpit head unit in our case, the passenger screen and everything to somebody else, the answer is no, you’re stepping into your Mercedes cocoon, your Mercedes rolling living room and the furniture and the digital stuff is from Mercedes.”

9to5Mac’s Take

Why this automaker just bailed on next-gen CarPlay – 9to5Mac

When Apple announced next-generation CarPlay at WWDC 2022, it showed a list of carmakers allegedly on board to adopt the feature. Mercedes-Benz was on that list, but it’s now clear its plans have changes.

For reference, here are the carmakers Apple initially said

  • Aston Martin
  • Porsche
  • Land Rover
  • Mercedes-Benz
  • Lincoln
  • Audi
  • Volvo
  • Honda
  • Nissan
  • Ford
  • Jaguar
  • Acura
  • Polestar
  • Infiniti
  • Renault

So far, two of these companies (Aston Martin and Porsche) have confirmed their plans to support next-generation CarPlay. The companies say they will release their first cars with the feature this year. One company (Mercedes-Benz) has said it has no plans to support next-gen CarPlay.

The other carmakers on the list of haven’t said anything, one way or the other.

Maybe I’m just a pessimist, but the future is not looking good for next-generation CarPlay as it stands right now.

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