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Apple CarPlay in iOS 12 Brings Third-Party Application Support, New Framework

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Apple announced at WWDC that its Apple CarPlay connectivity system will add third-party mapping with the launch of iOS 12 later this year, among other significant improvements.

At Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) event on June 4, the company announced features and apps that will roll out this fall with iOS, macOS, watchOS and tvOS updates. But that’s not all, as CarPlay did get a mention, much to everyone’s delight.

CarPlay and Android Auto are becoming a standard in all the latest cars, allowing users to turn the car dashboard into a familiar interface with preferred apps. Apple, however, wasn’t feeling quite as open when it released CarPlay back in 2014, offering users navigation only with Apple Maps. Although Apple Maps is well regarded in the area, there are many drivers who have grown fond of other options, such as Waze or Google Maps.

Waze is especially popular as a community-based navigation app as it allows drivers the ability to communicate any issues they encounter, such as traffic (whether mild or heavy) as well as construction or accidents.

On Monday, Apple announced CarPlay will support third-party applications, including Google Maps and Waze — two well-loved navigation applications. The support will come with the iOS 12 update this fall. The company did not provide specific details, but a screenshot from the Apple conference clearly shows Google Maps, Waze, and a Chinese navigation app as part of the system’s future functions.

The addition of support for Google Maps and Waze — not to mention the brevity of the announcement in the WWDC keynote and the news’ relegation to a footnote in this press release — may signal an admission from Apple that its navigational software is, indeed, inferior.

CarPlay will also feature improved performance, a faster startup sequence, smoother animations, and better app communication, read a report from 9to5Mac.

“The CarPlay framework is your toolkit for building great, interactive experiences on the car screen,” said Mike Knippers, part of the CarPlay experience team. “It uses a fixed set of templates that your apps can build and use, and iOS will translate into a UI presented on top of your app. With this, and a little bit of effort on your part, your apps will support all CarPlay systems.”

Ultimately, Apple hopes that the new CarPlay framework will make it easier for developers to bring their existing applications to CarPlay.

This enhancement is part of the slew of updates that come along with Apple iOS 12, which rolls out this fall for iPhone models 5S and later, in addition to certain iPad and iPod models. A public beta program launches this month.

Check out Apple’s full WWDC 2018 session on CarPlay audio and navigation applications here.

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