Apple’s CarPlay a Profound Paradigm Shift

by Jeff Wiener on March 11, 2014

It’s not the fact that Apple is looking to get its brand, its operating system, or anything else related to the Cupertino Company into your car that I find radically different, its how the company is doing it that has completely blown me away.

One of the key distinguishing factors between Apple and, well, everyone else, has always been the company’s draconian control over every facet of its operation. The Apple Empire was based on one simple rule: control it all, and under the watchful leadership of the late Steve Jobs the company created a perfectly contained operational biosphere. “From packaging, hardware and operating systems to the submission process for its App Stores,” the company controlled it all, and that control allowed Apple to dictate its desires for its product.

With that in mind, Apple’s CarPlay strategy is a radical departure, a monumental paradigm shift in how the company operates and delivers its product, as the Cupertino tech giant has done something heretofore unheard of for this firm, its allowing its partners—in this case the automotive industry—the freedom to deploy Apple products however they see fit.

As TechNewsWorld emerging tech writer Chris Maxcer explains, “Instead of Apple obsessing over every detail of a car’s built-in display, the carmakers decide on the size, angles and controls. Instead of Apple designers obsessing over how a button or knob feels to a user, Ferrari or Ford teams get to do that.”

By relinquishing control of the process Apple, Maxcer writes, “Apple is broadening its reach and stifling competition at the same time. Plus, it’s a win for automakers.” It allows automakers to give their customers the chance to operate in-car features with their iPhone, improving customer familiarity with the system and giving cars that increased ‘cool’ factor that comes with association with the Apple brand.

For Apple, of course, the benefits are clear: use the company’s clout to corner the in-car technology market, a sector that is quickly heating up as Google’s Android platform makes similar inroads.

Apple’s CarPlay technology is straightforward in both implementation and functionality, as its users your iPhone as the brains of its operation. “Plug it in, go, and best yet: Instead of aging out of relevance as you drive your car for years, you’ll get fresh maps and apps along the way.”

While the jury is still out on the results of this radical new Apple experiment, I can’t help but wonder, as Maxcer writes, if this is a signal of a “kindler, gentler Apple? Or simply one with a more pragmatic world view?” Have we actually witnessed Apple opening up its kingdom to external forces, and if the company is indeed learning to play nice with others, what does this mean for iOS, for Apple TV, or any of the company’s other products and services?

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