06/03/2014

Apple announces Carplay, but what's underneath the hood?

Apple wants to own the entertainment space, it first created the iPod with its companion iTunes which soon completely disrupted the music industry. With the advent of iPods and iPhones which could play video, Apple then went into the film distribution and rental business too.

Now it's the car industry that is getting the Apple makeover with a play (Carplay to be exact) to integrate your iPhone into your car experience which when you plug your iPhone in, will now support Apple services such as Maps (maybe you'll get to where you want, though Apple is improving Maps all the time), iTunes, messaging and other services. Everything can be voice controlled through Siri or the car's own voice recognition system.

Though Apple is meant to be announcing embedded iOS 7 for exactly these types of applications, it seems that Carplay actually uses Blackberry's QNX (Blackberry purchased QNX a while back and it's now the basis of BB10). QNX is a "micro" kernel realtime operating system and has been around for a long time and powers many ATMs and devices such as that. QNX also pushes their OS to auto manufacture to power their "infotainment" systems (formally known as ICE or In Car Entertainment) and it's exactly this use that powers Carplay.

The first cars to support Carplay will be Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo, followed by BMW, Ford, General Motors, Honda and Jaguar Land Rover.

If Carplay gets widely deployed, it could be Blackberry's saving grace, though maybe Apple will just buy them.

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