Apple’s CarPlay has been making big news lately, and with good reason. Their rebranded iOS in the Car is finally going to be available in new vehicles soon, and everyone is dissecting how this interface is going to work on the slew of automobiles. Mercedes-Benz wants to make sure that current owners do not feel left out, and are working to find a company that can provide an aftermarket solution to CarPlay that can be installed in older Mercedes vehicles to allow them to have the CarPlay experience.
According to 9to5Mac, Mercedes-Benz has confirmed to them that they are seeking a way to provide the CarPlay experience to older Mercedes-Benz vehicles. They are hoping to have a solution found and in place by the end of 2014. Because we do not understand what is actually involved technologically to make CarPlay work, it is difficult to say how difficult it will be for Mercedes to develop this implementation.
CarPlay support is built into Mercedes’ COMMAND system, and previous vehicles would most likely need a software update to support the system. Drivers are current Mercedes-Benz vehicles manufactured in the past couple of years will likely have the best luck in getting CarPlay support. We would assume it will only apply to vehicles running the current implementation of COMMAND, but until Mercedes-Benz releases official details we will not know for sure.
Normally, when we think aftermarket, we think of a widget of some kind connected to the phone and then connected to the car to provide the connection. We would imagine the the Mercedes system will be more elegant, since most vehicles already have a USB plug in the vehicle already.
We imagine that this upgrade will not come for free, but until we see pricing of Mercedes’ CarPlay support on new vehicles we cannot speculate how much an aftermarket kit will cost. If it ends up being entirely software, we expect it to be something that can be installed during an oil change or other dealer service visit. We will keep you up to date as we learn more about this system and if any other manufacturers plan on supporting CarPlay through the aftermarket.