In-car infotainment systems

Given that so many of us use iPhone/Android phones hooked up to the car displays to enable features such as maps, music, hands free features, has anyone found that something like Apple’s CarPlay becomes obsolete after a certain age? Maybe basic functionality is. established and would be retained in a backwards compatible mode but realistically for how long?

My VW lease car is nearly 5 years old, I may look to buy it, but am not certain.

I’d imagine the 'tech’ the car has/uses for CarPlay functionality might becomes incompatible with Apple’s newest iOS versions if the spec isn’t modern enough, my iPhone is even older so I guess I could keep a legacy phone for in car use, but the tech compatibility and potentially tightening ULEZ criteria make me wonder if it’s time to get rid of it (the car).

You could have a car which is perfectly roadworthy but lose functionality you’d become accustomed to, unless of course the manufacturer offered an upgrade to the system, which would no doubt be expensive.

I have a 2009 Jeep which still works with my Android phone for hands free calls and voice control. This is about as techy as it gets for my cars.

The last time I owned a 5 year old car was 1995 and I’ve still got it.

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I suspect the more recent models have remote updates sent to them, the older ones not so. Unless v important to you, I would suggest if it’s doing a good job for you, keep it as your last fossil fuel burning transport. I read that Toyota (and I suspect every other major manufacturer) is developing next gen batteries which are expected to be incorporated in models towards the end of this decade. Expectations are 600+ mile range and charge times 10-15 minutes. If these are available, current electric models will become antiques overnight and worthless and I have little doubt as we head towards 2030 we will have all sorts of tax penalties imposed to ensure we take up electric vehicles. Until then, most cost effective thing to do is sit tight!


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With all the pro’s of electric vehicles, the biggest thing that worries me is that the longer I wait to jump, the more complex they become, and more dependant on SW updates. At some point those SW updates will stop just like they do for the phone, and our PC’s. So typically we may all be buying new cars and phones and PC every 10 years (not very eco friendly)

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all SW and updates are the perfect alibi for a new business model making the customer to pay for so called optional devices already built in. You only want heated seats during winter ? No problem pay the use during that season. Look KTM motorcycles, you buy a new bike fully equipped with all software only “in action” the first month. So you can try and get used to even basic functions knowing you will have to pay to keep them further on.

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I think subscription models are discriminatory against materialistic people but it’s the way we seem to be going. Before you know it, we will all have a Naim Statement on a subscription, and pay £10 per song.

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Fully agree, however united customers have power. BMW tried to impose such business model in Belgium but retracted (for yet) this approach due to the heavy negative responses of the specialized press, the big leasing companies and the commun customer organisations. Paying a fully installed function was still cheaper than the same temporal rented function on a new car. Changing owner ment also the loss of already paid functions. Only investors profits counts.

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There’s lots of good quality DAPs out there that would work well in car as a high quality play back system. Yes I know they do already but lack the ability to control them from the head unit is a problem. I’m surprised that a clever manufacturer hasn’t released an app that could work with CarPlay.

We have Mrs Pete’s music on a SD card in her Touareg but I generally use my iPhone (Qobuz).

Presumably CarPlay is Apple’s proprietary system which they let car manufacturers license, but maybe not other ‘gadget’ manufacturers. I think I’ve got a few SD Card slots in the glove box but have no idea what they’re for! One might have sat nav on a card I think.

VWs have 2 well the 2 I’ve own have one is generally for media the other for sat nav. Tbh it works best and allows for hi res play back.

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My VW Golf has two SD cards one of which I use for music. I have a hundred or so albums Flac files the same files that I use for my Naim system, works very well. I just set it to play alphabetically, whether songs albums or artists and I update the selection from time to time. I love it.

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I think CarPlay is more driven by the updates to the phone rather than the car. Essentially it’s just showing what’s on the phone rather than running a separate operating system.

My car (Peugeot 3008) seems to require regular updates to the infotainment system (or whatever it’s called) and the satnav maps. This is done by me using a very clunky system using a usb stick. It also has updates the the main software that runs the car. That is done by the dealer. I’d be more worried about regular support for this than CarPlay.


Yes, that’s my perception and that the car display is just there as a display device and input device with a touchscreen.

I just wonder given the constantly evolving nature of such things if the actual touch display in the car could at some stage become too outdated to work with newer iOS/Android versions as their products evolve.

Suspect even if this were the case I could still connect for calls/music via Bluetooth.

My 2006 Golf had an iPod Dock and I think I had to buy an adapter of some kind for it to work with the original iPhone to deliver the audio/charging.

I think it’s more likely CarPlay and AA will rely on voice commands rather than touchscreen or button compatibility. You would effectively just use the car display to mirror the phone screen. I always use the TomTom satnav on my phone rather than the inbuilt one as it’s more up to date and has speed cameras etc. Fully controlled from the cars buttons / jog wheel but can ask Siri to reply to messages or navigate somewhere.

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Voice commands certainly work well for many things though probably not all apps (eg Qobuz), or at least there are some I’ve not figured out how to control as well with speech.

It would be interesting to know from those who used iPhones and Android phones for in-car functioanlity which systems work best as I’ve only had iPhones. Siri is not as good as it should be in many people’s view.

There is also the option to plug in a USB Stick on my 2016 VW Sirocco - which I use for Music. My previous Sirocco’s and a Golf (2009) also had this… :slightly_smiling_face:

My car has a usb port that I connect a 1 Tb ssd drive to. It has 500 Gb partition for video capture from the cars built in cameras and another 500Gb partition that I have loaded some of my favourite hi-res music to. Car inbuilt dac can decode flac 192/24 with no problems. Play back is through a multitude of speakers hidden all around the car including a sub woofer. Sounds very good to my ears.

Forgot that, as the USB connection to my iPhone on the Tiguan often reads it as a USB stick for audio purposes outside of CarPlay.

My car has voice recognition in addition to Siri. I try to avoid using it. Just using Siri to reply to texts and call people if I have to.

Yes I forgot about that, I did wonder if a Hard disc drive would function in the USB socket but maybe it wouldn’t have enough power to drive it?
My glove compartment also has a CD player!!