Next-Gen Apple CarPlay Customisations and Controls Detailed at WWDC

Jamshed AvariJun 11, 2024

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OEMs can fit their own design styles and optimise instrument clusters for each type of car and screen.

Apple’s ongoing Worldwide Developer Conference is all about sharing new hardware and software capabilities with developers and partners firsthand, so that apps and experiences can be ready to take advantage of each new generation of products and operating systems. Among this year’s big releases will be the next-generation CarPlay interface for iPhones, which is all set to take over a vehicle’s entire instrument cluster and central console. For the first time, Apple will merge CarPlay’s existing features, such as call handling, media playback and map navigation, with a new UI that includes controls for the vehicle itself, such as climate, charging, drive modes, and rear-view cameras.

As spotted by, Apple has published two WWDC sessions to help developers and carmakers understand the CarPlay architecture and create their own customised driver experiences, with adaptable layouts and dynamic content. These are freely available online for anyone to watch.

Apple’s reimagining of a car’s entire user experience starts with a digital dashboard including instrument cluster, essential indicators and gauges, map directions, and other information. Vehicle manufacturers will be able to decide their own designs and layouts, and drivers will be able to choose between several options. The CarPlay UI extends to multiple screens such as a central console or a panel that extends across the entire width of the dashboard, and additional passenger displays. Each vehicle model’s layout and screen configuration will be designed individually.

Next-gen CarPlay is designed to work with any kind of vehicle drivetrain and scale to any screen size. Car manufacturers will be able to keep the CarPlay UI consistent with their brand’s identity and their existing design styles. It will not replicate a car’s own instrument cluster and infotainment console, but is intended to deliver a different, co-branded experience when an iPhone is used with a compatible car. 

Special attention has been paid to typography and instrument design, keeping safety and glanceability in mind. For example, OEMs can choose the width, weight, arc size, corner sharpness, gradient, needle size, tick style, and of course colour of the on-screen speedometer. Cruise control target speed can be represented on the speedometer, along with a fuel or charge level gauge. Additional gauges and readouts can show coolant temperature, drive modes, recommended gear changes, regenerative braking, trip computer readout, smartphone notifications, and much more. Everything is resizable and can be adapted to different screen sizes. Maps, ADAS information and media playback can also be shown, along with OEM-specific wallpaper. 

Maps, vehicle status information, camera views, ADAS information and smartphone media can be shown as resizable and configurable widgets across centre and passenger screens. Representations of the car itself can be customised to reflect colour and trim options.

A new native Climate app will let drivers and passengers control a car’s AC and climate controls. Car makers can also implement their own settings and apps. The entire system can be updated as easily as smartphone users currently update apps. 

To support the vehicle environment, Apple has optimised its Siri voice assistant and improved the audio buffering and wireless pairing experiences. The UI is also optimised for low latency and quick startup. 

Next-gen CarPlay, which was first announced at WWDC 2022, is yet to roll out in any commercial production vehicle, but Apple has stated that the first models will go on sale in the US in 2024. In December last year, Porsche and Aston Martin showed off their own implementations of next-gen CarPlay, but are yet to confirm any specific launch timelines.

Next Generation CarPlay
WWDC 2024