Apple Reinventing Siri: What It Means for CarPlay Users

The Siri overhaul will be announced at WWDC 9 photos
Photo: Bogdan Popa/autoevolution
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Digital assistants are a key part of the experience behind the wheel. Google Assistant on Android Auto and Siri on CarPlay allow drivers to perform a series of tasks without turning to touch or other physical input methods.
This approach is critical in the car. With digital assistants and voice commands, drivers can keep their eyes on the road, eventually reducing driver distraction.

Apple is planning a massive Siri overhaul in an attempt to make using the digital assistant more straightforward but also more advanced in all scenarios.

One of them is the app interaction in the car. Apple plans to drop the "Hey, Siri" wake-up phrase and allow the digital assistant to launch by simply saying its name. It's not difficult to figure out where Apple is aiming with this update. The iPhone maker wants to make the conversation with Siri more natural, though it goes without saying that training the digital assistant to recognize your voice and react accordingly is a huge challenge.

Siri supports multiple languages and dialects, so recognizing its name in a conversational mode will be an essential part of the new experience.

At the same time, Apple wants to open up Siri to more app categories, giving developers the power to integrate voice commands into their software. With this new strategy, CarPlay could see the app ecosystem expanding to new categories, especially as a new generation is just around the corner.

Apple is already working on an upgraded CarPlay version that could debut later this year. Compared to the current flavor, the new CarPlay will use all screens in the car and offer deeper integration. CarPlay will therefore read more vehicle data, eventually providing drivers with information like the current battery level, range, and so on.

The upgraded Siri experience will probably be an integral part of the new CarPlay, though it'll also land in cars where the current version is already available. On CarPlay, Siri is powered by the connected iPhone (either via a cable or wirelessly), so the new capabilities will be available in all vehicles supporting Apple's system.

Full information about Apple's Siri updates will be shared at WWDC this week, but on the other hand, the new features might not be available right away. The company is still working on certain new capabilities, so I would personally expect the support for new app categories to go live gradually in the next couple of years.

Apple will start the rollout of the new CarPlay in the fall of this year, possibly when announcing the new-generation iPhones. The upgraded CarPlay will only land in new-generation cars, so enabling it in older models won't be possible. Several carmakers have already announced support for the new CarPlay.
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About the author: Bogdan Popa
Bogdan Popa profile photo

Bogdan keeps an eye on how technology is taking over the car world. His long-term goals are buying an 18-wheeler because he needs more space for his kid’s toys, and convincing Google and Apple that Android Auto and CarPlay deserve at least as much attention as their phones.
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