Cadillac Adding Apple CarPlay: Will It Compete With iDrive?

Interesting, Others | June 16th, 2015 by 5
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At the moment, BMW may have the best in-car infotainment system on the market. With its latest generation iDrive 5.0, the new BMW 7 Series …

At the moment, BMW may have the best in-car infotainment system on the market. With its latest generation iDrive 5.0, the new BMW 7 Series will utilize physical buttons and knobs as well as touchscreen and gesture controls.

The current-gen iDrive, available in all new BMW’s until the new 7er debuts, is already one of the best. But adding the new layers of control and even faster processing power and better graphics, the next-gen iDrive should easily take the infotainment crown.

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BMW’s biggest rivals, Audi and Mercedes-Benz, make similar units but without the touch and gesture control. Both of those units are very good, though. However, there are other systems that compete with BMW’s iDrive that just don’t make the grade. Cadillac’s CUE is probably the biggest infotainment failing in the business. It’s dimwitted and slow to respond, if the touches even register at all. There’s haptic feedback, but it’s delayed and you usually don’t feel it until you’re touching the screen again after thinking the first didn’t register. Though, this being Caddy’s first unit, it’s somewhat excusable that it isn’t up to par with BMW, who’s been making its iDrive for almost a decade now.

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However, this may be about to change because Cadillac will be adding Apple CarPlay to its cars starting in 2016. Apple CarPlay essentially mimics the user’s iPhone onto the touchscreen and allows the driver to swipe and zoom in the same manner that they would on the phone. This could be a massive upgrade over the CUE system, whose issues are more software related than anything else. Also, the CUE system is very confusing to use, so the familiarity with the driver’s own iPhone will help considerably. Cadillac will also be adding an Android based system later on, based on Android’s latest Lollipop operating system.

The CUE system is probably the biggest reason not to buy a recent Cadillac. Many of Caddy’s cars are very good, the CTS and ATS are definitely in the conversation with cars like the 3 Series and 5 Series. But it’s hard to want to actually buy one of them knowing that every time you want to adjust the volume or enter a destination, you have to use that awful CUE system. It ruins some very good cars. But with this new Apple CarPlay, and upcoming Android system, new Cadillacs may be ridding themselves of the thing that plagues them most.

Will the Apple CarPlay be as good or maybe even better than BMW’s iDrive 5.0? I’m not so sure, and it’s not because I don’t think Cadillac or Apple can do it. It’s just that BMW’s been in the game longer, so its iDrive is going to be more polished and user friendly. But this does speak a bit of trouble for BMW, as one of the main reasons people aren’t buying Cadillacs is the CUE system. Get rid of that and add something much better and the proposition of owning a Caddy becomes much more appealing. Does this Apple CarPlay increase sales for Cadillac in 2016? I don’t know, but it’s going to be interesting to find out and see how it stacks up against iDrive.

5 responses to “Cadillac Adding Apple CarPlay: Will It Compete With iDrive?”

  1. IceDree says:

    Actually, CUE is not only getting CarPlay & Android Auto integration… But also getting both a Hardware & a Software upgrade on all 2016 Cadillacs expect the SRX (the SRX successor, the XT5 will be announced later this year in Los Angeles auto show) …. However I’m not sure all models will get the Touchpad & widescreen like the CT6.

  2. Michael Cohen says:

    I think CarPlay can only help Cadillac. Hard to understand that the touch screen is laggy with CUE. My last car was a 2008 Infiniti which was the same system used in Nissans. It was fast, intuitive, rock solid. It’s frankly pathetic that Cadillac can’t nail infotainment. It’s only a handful of apps, they aren’t complicated and others have been doing them for at least 10 years. There are so many examples in the market place to follow. This speaks to some real failures at Cadillac. This just isn’t that hard to do.

    CarPlay is dead simple which for a lot of users is the best thing. If they can use their iPhone, they will know how to use CarPlay immediately.

    Prospective buyers of Cadillacs and 7 series skew older and less tech savvy. If they have an iPhone and they probably do, they will be comfortable with CarPlay right away.

    With CarPlay the nav will be great. The integration with contacts, past addresses, etc on the phone is nice. Music integration with iTunes music and radio is also great. Spotify app on CarPlay is a dumpster fire, but heavy spotify users buying 7s and Cadillacs, not so much.

    After the ease of use, the highlight is arguably Siri. For phone calls, directions and texts it’s fantastic. Apple (and Google) get so many voice requests so they can fine tune their systems. All the voice recognition systems I’ve seen from OEM car manufacturers including Audi and Tesla are bad to the point of not usable. Tesla’s infotainment is fantastic. Nearly iPad quality in terms of design. They must have a serious tech team there and if they are this bad at voice it must a hard problem.

    Visually every OEM system is ugly by modern computer standards.

    CarPlay is more buggy than typical for an apple product. Hopefully they clean it up in iOS 9.

    Now If only CarPlay can do something about all of the Chevy parts on he interior of a purportedly luxury car.

  3. Indiana Blotto's Last Crusade says:

    But BMW is getting CarPlay as well on the iDrive…

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