The week in iPhone news was exciting for Apple fans looking forward to future devices and firmware. A surprise release of iOS 9.3 beta to developers revealed significant feature improvements in the pipeline. Details on the upcoming 4-inch iPhone slated for release early this year also surfaced, along with a new moniker for the device. Changes are also on the way to iTunes Radio and the iAd platform. Here are five highlights from the top Apple news of the week:
Jailbreak developers are working hard to bring CarPlay functionality to devices running iOS 8. One such project, named CarPlay iOS, is available on Cydia as a preview of what's to come. While the tweak is not sophisticated, CarPlay iOS provides basic Music functionality with the CarPlay interface right on an iPhone or iPad.
Once installed, a CarPlay iOS app icon will appear on the home screen. Opening this app reveals the main CarPlay screen, in this version limited to Music and Now Playing. Listening to a track reveals oversized, high-contrast play controls. This is the essence of what makes CarPlay useful, providing the operating system for in-dash displays and CarPlay-enabled radios.
According to Apple, there are currently 29 auto-manufacturers that plan to integrate CarPlay in their vehicles, including:
- Alfa Romeo
- DS Spirit (high end Citroen)
- Land Rover
CarPlay's launch date depends on the individual car manufacturers. Apple officially announced CarPlay (originally branded as "iOS in the Car") at the Geneva Motor Show back in early March. At the time, Volvo, Ferrari and Mercedes-Benz announced that they would have CarPlay integrated in their vehicles by the end of 2014. Many other automakers announced plans to integrate sometime in 2015.
Apple has added nine new automobile manufacturers to its CarPlay partners list. The new additions include Abarth, Alfa Romeo, Audi, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep, Mazda and Ram. This brings Apple's total committed partners to 29. CarPlay will be available with Ferrari, Honda, Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo models sometime in 2014, before the rest of the manufacturers on the list catch up in 2015.
The service was introduced last year as "iOS in the Car" before being renamed and unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2014. Volvo demoed its CarPlay integration in the new XC90 SUV at the event.