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Ford CEO Says It Will Keep Apple CarPlay, Android Auto: ‘We Lost That Battle 10 Years Ago’

After General Motors announced that it will phase out Apple CarPlay in favor of its own infotainment system, Ford CEO Jim Farley doubles down.
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Apple CarPlay and Android Auto have effectively cornered infotainment for a decent chunk of car owners. With both systems becoming more ubiquitous, it’s moving users off of automaker’s proprietary systems that collect various data about habits and usage. While General Motors has announced that it plans to phase out CarPlay in its EVs starting in 2024, Ford has just doubled down on long-term CarPlay compatibility.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Ford CEO Jim Farley laid it bare: “In terms of content, we kind of lost that battle 10 years ago,” Farley said. “So like get real with it, because you’re not going to make a ton of money on content inside the vehicle.” 

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Automakers have a lot to gain from a strong user base. It gives them better data, which offers more opportunities to advertise and optimize, and possibly even sell in-system applications and features that force users to continue using the infotainment. With CarPlay, the automakers may have access to that data but ultimately, it is Apple hoovering up everything about user habits while on the road. 

Farley’s argument is extremely sound. He is contending that since most people bring their smartphones into their cars with them, that people want the infotainment to be an extension of their phones and not another thing to deal with. On another level, embracing CarPlay and Android Auto cost automakers money to license but that cost is amortized over a large production run. The possibility of having a CarPlay-only infotainment is distant and highly unlikely, as automakers do need their own interface for the high-tech gadgets of today’s cars.

And let’s be real: CarPlay is one of the best things to happen to modern cars. It simplifies driving, keeps people less distracted by vastly reducing the learning curve, and is just more convenient. Ford is embracing it. 

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