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Car and Driver: Apple Blocked Volkswagen from Demonstrating Wireless CarPlay at CES

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Apple CarPlay

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Millions of iPhones are already equipped to use Apple CarPlay over a wireless connection, but the Cupertino, California, tech giant blocked Volkswagen from showing off the user experience at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. “We wanted to demonstrate wireless CarPlay and the owner of CarPlay technology didn’t allow us to,” Volkmar Tannerberger, head of electrical and electronic development at Volkswagen, told Car and Driver.

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CarPlay allows a vehicle’s infotainment screen to mirror the iPhone interface and select apps, albeit with some functionality limited due to safety concerns. The ability to use CarPlay wirelessly is a feature of iOS 9, Apple’s most recent mobile operating system, but no automaker offers a system that is compatible with the protocol. Existing infotainment systems that accommodate CarPlay require users to connect their phones to the car via a USB port.

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While Tannerberger didn’t explain why Volkswagen’s plans were stopped, we suspect that Apple wants to control the first demonstration of wireless CarPlay, likely at one of its own events such as its Worldwide Developer Conference or its fall keynote, and possibly with another automaker that it has partnered with.

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Wireless Mirrorlink

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Instead of wireless CarPlay, Volkswagen used its booth at CES to demonstrate the ability to wirelessly connect a phone to an in-car touchscreen using Mirrorlink, an open-source standard that competes with CarPlay but isn’t available on iPhones. The wireless standards of Mirrorlink and CarPlay connect the phone and display screen via Wi-Fi. Once connected, users can use the in-dash infotainment screen to stream and control music stored on the phone, pull up navigation directions, and access other approved apps that are hosted on the phone. Since screen mirroring drains a phone’s battery quickly, Volkswagen envisions pairing the technology with wireless charging. Google has not yet released a protocol to use Android Auto wirelessly.2016 Consumer Electronics Show

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