If you’ve driven a car with Apple CarPlay, you know it makes integrating your phone into your driving experience a lot easier. No more searching for a way to sync contacts, music or maps from your iPhone to your vehicle. Simply plug in your phone (or connect wirelessly) and your phone’s apps appear on your vehicle’s infotainment screen. (Google’s Android Auto works the same way).
However, the current CarPlay system is just the tip of the iceberg.
On June 7, 2022, Apple unveiled the next generation of CarPlay (pictured above). The next-generation system will take over and replace the entire information display of new participating vehicles, not just the stereo. CarPlay will essentially become your vehicle’s operating system. It also means that CarPlay won’t just give you information from your phone, but will be a tool that can control almost every function in your car.
I predict the Apple App Store for CarPlay will really explode as developers create new apps to do things with our cars that we can’t imagine today. For example, GM might offer its “Super Cruise” self-driving feature as an app that will drive your car. Download the Super Cruise app to your Ford and use the software to control your vehicle.
Restaurants, cafes and other roadside venues will create apps that will change your driving experience. The Metro, for example, might let you use the in-car app to order that $5 long while driving. Concert and sports venues could create apps that guide your car to available parking spots. The possibilities are endless for app developers.
What does this mean for communication displays in agricultural equipment?
This time of year, farmers love to post photos of their tractor cabs full of monitors during planting season. It is not uncommon to see a monitor for the tractor, one for the drill and one for the planting data. The farmer is able to receive a lot of information, but the user experience feels chaotic compared to something like next-gen CarPlay.
Is it inevitable that a major software developer or agricultural equipment manufacturer will create a CarPlay-like experience for the tractor cab? A similar “TractorPlay” operating system could also revolutionize the farmer’s in-cab experience. For example, rather than plugging in your single planter monitor, you can simply download the planter application to your TractorPlay operating system and run the tool as integrated software.
A single integrated operating system could change the entire cabin experience. A combine monitor can run applications for a grain trucking company that ensure empty trucks are always waiting at the end of the field. Another application can connect to the local grain elevator to continuously update stock numbers and market prices in front of the operator. With CarPlay in the cabin, the possibilities are endless.