Marco Arment:

CarPlay will become much more interesting if and when, say, the millionth CarPlay-equipped car is sold to a customer, which is probably at least two years away even if manufacturer adoption goes very well.

What struck me as odd about this announcement was the fact that CarPlay is not a standalone app. CarPlay won’t be used by the majority of people. And it certainly won’t have the “Apple Effect” we have come to know and expect.[1]

Who gets to benefit from CarPlay? If the goal is to make interaction with your iPhone safer while driving, why choose such a small target market? Is that effect worth the millions invested? I know exactly zero people who are going to buy a brand new car in the next year. The chance of them acquiring CarPlay is probably less than zero.[2]

CarPlay can’t be meant for such a small group of people.

Unless, ahem, Unless, Apple has something else up its sleeve for CarPlay. If I was a betting man, this would be my guess.

I don’t know the extent of improvement a standalone app would have on road safety. I don’t know if Apple would release a standalone device that would improve interaction with an iPhone on the road. And I don’t know if Apple views the transportation industry as an industry in need of disruption.

What I do know is Apple has a very large number of devices flying down the highway at 60 mph in the hands of unruly drivers. Unlike Google, I can’t see Apple turning a blind eye to the safety impact of an iPhone.

CarPlay is a stepping stone to something greater. The Motorola Rokr seems to faintly come to mind. And we know what came about after that hardware disaster.

  1. By “Apple Effect”, I mean complete and utter dominance and disruption. Of course. Sigh.  ↩

  2. Assuming CarPlay only comes in select models — which so happen to be the most expensive models.  ↩