Mercedes-Benz won’t let Apple CarPlay take over all its screens

Mercedes-Benz won’t let Apple CarPlay take over all its screens

Mercedes-AMG SL63

Mercedes-Benz doesn’t have any plans to adopt Apple’s immersive, next-generation version of CarPlay, the German automaker’s CEO said in an episode of Decoder.

“The short answer is no,” Ola Källenius told The Verge’s Nilay Patel in response to a question about whether Mercedes-Benz will enable Apple CarPlay to take over all the screens inside its vehicles. Instead, he touts the need for a “holistic software architecture” to meet the needs of customers who are increasingly looking for a better technology experience from their vehicles.

Apple announced its next-gen version of CarPlay, in which the phone-mirroring feature would extend beyond the central touchscreen to also include additional screens like the gauge cluster, back in 2022. It was a bold move, with Apple signaling its desire to control core functions of the vehicle like HVAC, as well as the speedometer and odometer. But since then, the new CarPlay has yet to appear on any production models. Last year, it said that Porsche and Aston Martin would be among the first companies to adopt the new immersive display.

But Mercedes doesn’t appear to be in any rush to follow its luxury vehicle peers in letting Apple dominate the in-car experience for its customers. Instead, Källenius said that the company is working closely with Apple’s main rival, Google, in designing a new navigation feature that will build on Google Maps. The key difference there is that Mercedes’ own engineering team will be heavily involved in the process.

“I fundamentally believe that that holistic customer experience is best done by us, and we will serve you,” he said during the interview.

But Källenius said he still sees value in offering phone-mirroring services to his customers and has no plans to exclude their use — despite some in the auto industry turning away from them. Last year, General Motors made the controversial move to prohibit Apple CarPlay and Android Auto in its forthcoming lineup of electric vehicles, arguing that the company could provide a more comprehensive software experience than what exists on someone’s phone.

“We’re not fundamentalists to say, for some reason, we’re not going to allow a customer to use Apple CarPlay if that’s what they choose to do,” Källenius said. “So, we have Apple CarPlay. We have Android Auto. If, for some of the functions, you feel more comfortable with that and will switch back and forth, be my guest. You can get that, too.”

At the end of the answer, he reiterated his position that Apple’s next-gen CarPlay was a bridge too far for Mercedes. “To give up the whole cockpit head unit — in our case, a passenger screen — and everything to somebody else, the answer is no.”

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