With nearly every major auto manufacturer on the list for CarPlay integrations, I’m admittedly a little surprised that Toyota dropped CarPlay support. In a recent New York Times article, Toyota’s John Hanson said, “It currently had no plans to adopt Android Auto or CarPlay in the United States.” No plans? That’s a mistake, right? I hope he’s just saying that so Toyota can spend more time on the integration. If Apple gets CarPlay into 50% of the industry this year, I think the brands that don’t adopt it will lose in overall sales. At the moment, the average consumer has no idea what CarPlay is or how it works; only tech geeks like me have access to it. Once it’s available in new cars, sales people will demonstrate it, and demand will increase dramatically.

Toyota Dropped CarPlay Support

Add this to the long list of Toyota’s terrible technology choices. They make inexpensive (sort of), reliable cars that generally lack the bells and whistles of other brands. They’re completely clueless when it comes to in-dash technology. While shopping for my truck this summer, I realized that Toyota went years without a major upgrade to their dashboard. I checked out a 2005 and a 2011 Tacoma, and I didn’t notice any immediate differences. When I asked the sales representative, he mentioned a couple minor details, but those didn’t make the situation any better. Even Toyota’s 2015 Tacoma comes with a messy user experience that looks and feels awful. However, John Hanson, the national manager of Toyota’s advanced technology communications, says, “We prefer to use our in-house proprietary platforms for those kinds of functions.” What a joke. I’d prefer it too if my job depended on it.

I work with an aftermarket stereo installer on a regular basis. I showed him CarPlay after he installed a Pioneer deck in my Tacoma. The next day, he installed that same deck in his own vehicle. He said, “I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s fast, easy to navigate, and works perfectly with my iPhone.” I agree with him. Minus a few app crashes a month, Apple created the best aftermarket dashboard system available for any car. I take instability with a grain of salt; I can typically fix it with a reboot of my iPhone. The interface itself is simple but easy to look at for hours on end. The maps integration is far better than any other GPS interface I’ve seen in a dashboard. The hands-free calling is perfect with the help of Siri. It’s a great system. I’m still hoping Apple gives Google access to the CarPlay interface so we have offline access to navigation, but that’s a topic for another time.

I can’t understand why Toyota dropped CarPlay support. Maybe they had legitimate reasons, but the NYT article doesn’t reveal any. Especially with rumors of wireless CarPlay support, there’s nothing holding Apple back from dominating the in-dash experience. Toyota needs to wake up. The fact that Toyota dropped CarPlay support shows us — again — that its technology strategy is too slow to stay current.

If you still haven’t seen CarPlay in person, or a live demo, take a gander at this video from Fix Denver.

Josh Carr
Josh founded eciov in 2008 and has overseen it's evolution into a lifestyle site. He enjoys all things digital, art, music, creativity -- anything that can evoke emotion. If he's not working on this site or at his day job as a UX Engineer, he's out riding his motorcycle or jumping his truck on trails in the mountains.
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