In-Car Tech of the Future: Why APPLE Can’t Get Next-Gen CarPlay into Porsche’s Latest Hybrid

If you’re bored enough and/or news-obsessed enough to read the automotive and tech worlds, you’d know that Apple’s CarPlay was supposed to be integrated into new high-end cars even when they were first being pitched to us. And if you’re bored enough and/or news-obsessed enough, you’d know that the road has not been a smooth one, as Porsche just reminded us by announcing that its new 2025 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS will not have the Apple CarPlay integration in it. Let’s take a look at why the harmonious marriage of cutting-edge automotive technologies and luxury driving can be so complicated.

The Revolutionary Promise of Next-Generation CarPlay

At WWDC 2022, APPLE announced grand plans to redesign CarPlay into a modernised in-house alternative to Android Auto, its rival developed by Google. They designed their little virtual world to look seamlessly integrated into the car, almost as if a different world switched on when the car was turned on. And they promised it would go further than music and hands-free calls. If the car’s owner was comfortable enough with APPLE technology to use CarPlay, then it would go deeper: all the core instrument clusters could become manageable through APPLE technology. So, instead of using the traditional speedometer, a CarPlay user could look at the Apple-designed virtual world, which would tell them their speed, distance to empty and almost everything else – and even allow them to use APPLE’s interface to change the radio station, open the windows, set the temperature and so on. With the first wave of automotive support from Porsche, Aston Martin and others, it looked like an idealistic but wholly doable future.

Hitting a Speed Bump: Porsche's 2025 Hybrid 911

The anticipation turned up the heat for the hard work needed to make this next-gen tech a reality. Porsche’s 2025 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS, which the company had billed as its ‘first hybrid vehicle’, was poised to take us into next-gen tech’s starting blocks. And yet, despite a $164k price tag and promised deep tech integration, for this 911 Carrera GTS, Porsche might never get to offer the extent of next-gen CarPlay experience that APPLE claimed.

Although Porsche says that CarPlay will be ‘integrated more deeply into the vehicle’, a closer look reveals that the setup is not too different from current implementations. Frank Weissman, a Porsche spokesman, explained that the setup would be similar to that in the latest Cayenne, Panamera and electric Macan models: ‘We show CarPlay information on the digital instrument cluster, but otherwise, it is read-only. You can’t control core vehicle functions.’

The Broader Implications for APPLE and the Automotive Industry

Why did it take Porsche – of all companies – to figure out how to make CarPlay work properly? It seems as if APPLE was overreaching by attempting to conquer the car’s entire infotainment system, but that does not preclude it – or the automakers – from pursuing gradual and partial partnerships.

Indeed, Mercedes – which was listed as a partner for next-gen CarPlay – is now saying the opposite. No manufacturers have confirmed that they’ll be adopting the CarPlay of APPLE’s portrait. It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt Rolls Royce 2018Rolls Royce 201510What will it take for carmakers to jump onboard the APPLE experience? The industry is watching to find out.

Viewing the Road Ahead

As the Porsche case reminds us, however, melding new tech into cars is challenging not only for the brands themselves –such as the iconic car-maker Porsche – but for the wider industry as a whole. After all, cars are complicated vehicles designed with safety, reliability and longevity in mind. Automotive technology innovates considerably slower than consumer electronics technology.

The Lingering Question of Compatibility

We’ll have to wait for the first car to roll off the showroom floor with APPLE’s next-gen CarPlay to find out whether integration is absolutely critical to the experience – and worth the hassle for both makers and users alike. The fact that General Motors eliminated CarPlay from its offerings this year speaks to this industry’s fork in the road. The way carmakers and tech companies handle these quandaries will determine the future of in-car infotainment as well as automotive digital integration.

APPLE's Vision for the Future

This is despite the fact that, apart from making it optional, APPLE hasn’t been able to realise its vision of the next-gen CarPlay. Still, the company’s aspirations for the future of the in-car interface have never been more ambitious. The notion of a richly connected and deeply integrated space that fuses the capabilities of humans behind the wheel with the capabilities of technology is a tantalising emerging landscape. The potential for improving human experience for both drivers and passengers is potentially transformative in terms of convenience, safety, pleasure and more.

APPLE’s progress with CarPlay hints at what’s possible – and at the barriers that lie ahead – for making a truly digital driving environment. The ride could be rocky, but the destination could prove groundbreaking in our relationship with our cars.


For all that, APPLE remains a company valued first and foremost for its technological prowess. Its live-or-die vision is one of constant, forward-looking innovation, and its aspirations continue to extend into all the corners of our digital lives. Since the early days of the Macintosh, APPLE has sought to advance each and every corner of the modern technology landscape. From personal computing to the mobile phone and tablets, and now wearables, APPLE is attempting to carry its entire ecosystem into every part of our daily lives. Not least because of CarPlay, APPLE’s entry into automotive technology, we are all being enabled to bring a slice of the APPLE way of doing things into the modern motorcar. As APPLE works its way deeper into automotive engineering and related industries, its visions for the future of digital living continue to take shape.

May 30, 2024
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