Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 20 seconds

carplayApple's business plans always call for grand scale market penetration, but they quietly got into the car “infotainment” (buzz word for broadcast material which is intended both to entertain and to inform) sector. Now they are attracting the of attention of the automotive world -- especially from Tier-1 suppliers that would directly compete against Apple.


Right now, CarPlay, Apple's proprietary “iOS” (operating system for mobile devices for automotive infotainment), is already showing up in cars. The “available as an option” list includes Ferrari, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz, and Volvo. Other major carmakers are expected to put their toes in the water.

Users get to sync their iPhones with their dashboards in cars that offer CarPlay. The dashboard touchscreen has the CarPlay iOS interface so that users can email, check Facebook, navigate the car with an iPhone app; stream music, and probably other things before they are through.

CarPlay is not the only option users can select for smartphone interfaces. For now, carmakers don't plan to lock out customers who have Android or other non-Apple smartphones.

As a point of reference, ter-one companies are direct suppliers to OEMs. The term is especially common in the automobile industry and refers to major suppliers of parts (actually full-blown “systems”) to OEMs. For example, Visteon is a Tier-1 supplier for many automotive systems, one of which is instrument panels (systems). It would seem that Apple would like being this type of “seller”.

An original equipment manufacturer, or OEM, refers to a company that makes a final product for the consumer marketplace. For example, Ford and General Motors are OEM companies that manufacture cars, and Apple is a computer OEM. Ever wonder if Apple wants to be an automotive OEM too???

Apple blew away the automotive industry at the Geneva Motor Show when they declared they will play a key role in the future of cars. As you might expect, there is a lot behind this announcement. For the first time, Apple will work with third parties (automotive OEM's) to incorporate its technology. They have always built their own eco-system and always been in charge of their own show. What will this mean for Apple's technology competitors? What will this mean for Tier-1's?

It is a lot more involved than just putting a device with a touchscreen on it into a dashboard (which is what Tier-1's do now). You have steering wheel control buttons and human-machine interaction (HMI) (SIRI in the case of Apple) to integrate too.

With Apple looking to enter the automobile market with CarPlay, carmakers eventually will have to make some hard choices, since APPLE is known to take over ecosystems with software and hardware offerings.

One thing for sure, at the end of the day, EDI will still play a significant part in putting these vehicles together.

Last modified on Wednesday, 07 May 2014
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