Most cars you can buy in 2023 have an infotainment system that lets you mirror your smartphone display using Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. This is a convenient option considering that most people use an iPhone or Android phone, and they like to access the operating system and its various apps and features on their car screen.
However, General Motors (GM) recently announced that it plans to stop offering Android Auto and Apple CarPlay support in its cars from 2024, forcing users to rely on its proprietary software rather than their phone’s operating system. But why? Will other automakers make the same decision? Let’s find out!
Why GM doesn’t support Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
According to GM, it will focus on its native software to provide more integrated functionality in its upcoming electric vehicles. For example, its native software will process real-time data from vehicle sensors to accurately predict expected range based on battery charge, tire pressure, live traffic and outside temperature. GM says it will also optimize navigation routes for its driving assistant technology and make it easier to find the nearest charging stations using real-time data.
However, GM’s built-in features can still be made available on its infotainment system, with the ability to access Apple CarPlay and Android Auto through native software. Current GM models are equipped with an infotainment system that can be connected to Android Auto and Apple CarPlay to mirror your smartphone screen. So what’s the real reason GM is dropping support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto?
One answer lies in the fact that GM’s proprietary infotainment software is actually co-developed with Google. It started in 2019 and the internet giant is doing most of the work on the system. You can already see similar Google-based infotainment solutions running in Volvo, Polestar and Renault vehicles, among others, and that should give you an idea of what to expect from GM’s solution.
Reuters quotes Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors, as saying the automaker aims to grow its subscription revenue to at least $20 billion by 2030. If GM abandons Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, it will have the ability to increase its subscription revenue from implementing subscriptions for various services through its native software.
Will other automakers follow GM in ditching Android Auto and Apple Car Play?
It’s not just GM that plans to increase revenue using its proprietary software services — other automakers are also rushing to the subscription model. Case in point? BMW tested the waters in 2022 by asking for an $18 monthly subscription so you can take advantage of your heated seats. Even the Mercedes-Benz EQ models come with a $1,200 per year subscription to unleash their full power, after buying them for over $100,000 in the case of the more expensive models.
However, other major automakers have shown no indication that they will follow GM’s strategy of ditching Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. It could actually be the opposite, given that most automakers don’t want to lose customers to a competitor that offers Android Auto or Apple Car Play. In fact, when Ford’s CEO was asked by The Wall Street Journal if the company would go down GM’s path of ditching Apple CarPlay, he said they “lost that battle 10 years ago” and that didn’t happen. makes no sense since the majority of its customers have iPhones.
Again, electric vehicle brands like Tesla and Rivian do not support Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. Tesla goes one step further by requiring customers with 2018 or older models to pay $2,250 to upgrade the infotainment system to unlock new features. It’s likely that GM will follow Tesla’s playbook by adding microtransactions within the infotainment system.
Since Google develops GM’s infotainment software, it’s also possible that it uses a custom Android Automotive like Rivian without Apple CarPlay or Android Auto support. Here is the difference between Android Auto and Android Automotive.
Most customers want Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
Most customers want a car with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, because almost everyone has an iPhone or Android smartphone. On the other hand, automakers like GM want to grow their revenue beyond selling cars. The big question is, who will blink first?