Cue the antitrust lawyers: General Motors will begin phasing out Apple CarPlay and Android Auto from its electronic vehicles, starting with the 2024 Chevy Blazer. The carmaker wants more control over data collection using a custom infotainment OS built in a partnership with Google. It intends to use harvested information to see how customers drive and charge their EVs.
CarPlay and Auto are very popular technologies from Apple and Google that allow vehicle owners to mirror their phones to their car's dashboards. Customers can use the phone's navigation features or stream music rather than going through the stock infotainment system, which are somewhat lacking in most major models.
The change only applies to electronic vehicles coming in 2024 and later. Reuters notes that gas-powered cars and current EVs will remain unaffected.
Seeing how this impact Google Motors--er--GM's EV sales in 2024 and beyond should be interesting. Google has a dubious reputation for data collection, and GM stands to be affected by that view. Plus, a recent survey found that nearly half of all car buyers want their infotainment systems to have CarPlay and Android Auto support, while nearly 80 percent of Apple users polled demand CarPlay support in their vehicles.
Apple is bound to be disappointed by the move. It has struggled to compete with Android Auto--another Google data collection project. General Motors only started making its infotainment systems compatible with CarPlay a few years ago. It will be fun to watch regulators chase Google down with antitrust suits for tossing Apple out on its ASS (automotive services sector) by locking it out of future GM vehicles.
Google has been working with GM on its infotainment system since 2019. Progress in the joint venture has focused on moving from a simple software that controls your radio and a few other features into one tightly woven into more of the vehicle's computers, including GM's Super Cruise--an automated driver assistant.
"We have a lot of new driver assistance features coming that are more tightly coupled with navigation," GM's Executive Director of Digital Cockpit Experience Mike Hichme told Reuters. "We don't want to design these features in a way that is dependent on [a] person having a cellphone."
As for features, the new infotainment system will have all you would probably expect from Google, including Google Maps and Google Assistant. These services will be free to owners for eight years from purchase. Although it won't be present initially, GM plans to add Spotify and Audible to the system eventually. It will also bring other popular apps over time, but it did not mention specifics.
It's also worth mentioning that customers will still be able to use their phones to make calls or send texts via voice commands using their iPhones and Androids. However, it will be through Bluetooth rather than CarPlay or Auto.