Apple CarPlay is an automotive software interface that connects an end user's iPhone with a car's compatible dashboard infotainment display. While CarPlay is not a separate app that the user can download onto the iPhone, it will appear as a choice on the infotainment display as soon as the phone is paired to the car with a Bluetooth, universal serial bus (USB) or Wi-Fi connection.
Once connected, CarPlay will replace the center console's graphical user interface (GUI) with one that looks like an iPhone. If an app on the end user's phone is compatible with CarPlay, an icon for the app will display on the car's touchscreen. CarPlay is designed to minimize driver distraction by allowing Siri, Apple's virtual assistant, to initiate and receive phone calls; listen to and send text messages; map locations and provide turn-by-turn directions to them; and, play music, podcasts or audiobooks.
CarPlay is available in more than 50 car makes and over 400 models built as recently as 2014. It is compatible with an iPhone 5 or newer as long as the phone is running an up-to-date version of iOS. CarPlay, which competes with Android Auto, can also be used to connect to some aftermarket audio or navigation systems from Alpine, Clarion, JVC, Kenwood, Pioneer and Sony.