Ford Brings CarPlay to 2016 Vehicles With SYNC 3 Update

Ford today released a SYNC 3 software update that adds CarPlay and Android Auto support to its 2016 model year vehicles.


Ford said customers with Wi-Fi-enabled vehicles can set up their vehicle to receive the update automatically. SYNC 3 version 2.2 can also be downloaded from the Ford Owner website and installed with a USB drive, or customers can visit any Ford dealership to have the update process completed for free.

Last summer, Ford made CarPlay and Android Auto available in all of its 2017 vehicles with SYNC 3. At the time, it promised it would bring CarPlay and Android Auto to its 2016 model year vehicles by the end of the year, and while it missed that target by about five months, the update has now arrived.

In late 2015, Ford retroactively added Siri Eyes Free support to 5 million 2011-2016 model year vehicles.

CarPlay brings Maps, Phone, Messages, Music, Podcasts, and a number of third-party apps like Spotify to a vehicle's dashboard. Apple's in-car software can be controlled with Siri and a vehicle's built-in controls for convenient access to common iPhone features. It's compatible with iPhone 5 and later.

Related Roundup: CarPlay
Tags: Android Auto, Ford, Ford SYNC

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Ford Hires Apple Marketing Director Musa Tariq as Brand Leader

Ford today announced it has hired Musa Tariq as a Vice President and its Chief Brand Officer starting January 30. Tariq will work with Ford's marketing and communication departments to "define, build, and communicate" the carmaker's brand across the world as it further pushes into connected technologies.

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Tariq has served as Global Marketing and Communication Director of Apple Retail since August 2014, working on Apple Store initiatives. Prior to Apple, he was a social media director at Nike. He held the same position at Burberry, where he worked for Angela Ahrendts, who is now Apple's retail chief.

Tariq started his career in marketing and advertising, serving in leadership roles at ad agencies JWT and Saatchi & Saatchi.

Tag: Ford

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New CarPlay Vehicles From Audi, Honda, GM, and More Debut at Detroit Auto Show

Ahead of the annual North American International Auto Show in Detroit, which opens to the public on Saturday, a number of automakers have debuted new CarPlay-supported vehicles, including models with first-time compatibility from Audi, Honda, and General Motors brands Chevrolet and GMC.

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Audi SQ5

Audi today announced the 2018 SQ5 crossover supports both CarPlay and Android Auto, a first for the SQ5, while the Audi A5 and S5 Cabriolet with CarPlay support are also making their North American debuts at the show. The latter two models were first announced alongside the Los Angeles Auto Show in November.

Volkswagen confirmed to us that all 2018 Atlas models will feature CarPlay and Android Auto for the first time through VW App-Connect. The all-new 2018 Tiguan debuting at the show will likewise be compatible with CarPlay and Android Auto via VW App-Connect, in line with 2016 and 2017 models of the vehicle.

Other first-time CarPlay vehicles debuting in Detroit this week include the 2018 Chevrolet Traverse, 2018 Honda Odyssey, and 2018 GMC Terrain Denali. The new 2018 Ford F-150 and 2018 Volvo V90 both support CarPlay as well, but previous model years of these vehicles were compatible as well.

BMW's new 5 Series will be on display as one of the first vehicles—a few other BMWs have it—with wireless CarPlay support built in. Last week, Alpine announced the first aftermarket CarPlay receiver, model number iLX-107, that will be available in February for a suggested price of $900. It features a 7-inch capacitive touchscreen.

While the 2017 Maxima supports CarPlay, Nissan confirmed to us that the 2017 Rogue Sport is not compatible with Apple's software at this time. The 2018 Camry and 2018 Lexus LS debuting at the show are also incompatible, as Toyota and its luxury brand Lexus have chosen competing platforms over CarPlay.

CarPlay is available in over 200 vehicle models worldwide, providing hands-free or eyes-free access to common iPhone apps such as Maps, Messages, Music, Phone, and Podcasts, and select third-party apps such as Spotify. Apple maintains a CarPlay vehicles list on its website, although it is not always instantly up to date.

Related Roundup: CarPlay
Tags: Chevrolet, Ford, Volkswagen, GM, GMC, Honda, Audi

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CES 2017: Ford to Integrate Alexa Virtual Assistant into its Cars From Next Month

Ford has announced it is teaming up with Amazon to integrate Alexa virtual assistant into its cars, allowing vehicle owners to access shop, search, and control smart home features on the road.

The partnership means owners of Ford cars equipped with the SYNC 3 AppLink system will be able to access Amazon's Alexa voice-activated virtual assistant from the driver's seat, enabling them to check the weather, add items to shopping lists, play audiobooks, and control Alexa-compatible smart home devices, like lights and thermometers.

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"Ford and Amazon are aligned around a vision that your voice should be the primary way to interface with your favorite devices and services," said Don Butler, executive director, Ford Connected Vehicle and Services. "Customers will be able to start their vehicles from home, and manage smart home features while on the road – making life easier."
Ford said that beginning next month, some owners of its vehicles will be able to use Alexa voice commands to access certain car functions and even check the range of their car. Specifically, owners of the Ford Focus Electric, Fusion Energy, and the C-MAX Energy will be able to use their Amazon Echo or Echo Dot smart speaker in the home to lock their car or start the engine remotely. Ford said it plans to offer the Alexa commands in more of its SYNC Connect cars at a later date.

The second phase of the rollout, expected this summer, allows Ford owners to tap into a broad set of Alexa skills using their voice while driving – helping them keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.
"We're excited to work with Ford to enhance the driver experience both inside and outside of the vehicle," said Steve Rabuchin, vice president, Amazon Alexa. "We believe voice is the future, and this is particularly true in cars. The ability to use your voice to control your smart home, access entertainment, manage to-do lists and more makes for an extraordinary driving experience. We can’t wait for Ford customers to try this out."
Amazon's Alexa has been cropping up in a range of upcoming products at CES so far this year, appearing in third-party smart speakers, TVs, lamps, and even refrigerators.


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Toyota and Ford Create Automaker Group to Promote Open Source Smartphone Interfaces

Ford and Toyota have formed a four-automaker consortium to speed up the deployment of open source software for connected in-car systems, according to a report by Bloomberg on Wednesday.

The SmartDeviceLink Consortium, which includes Mazda, PSA Group, Fuji, and Suzuki, aims to prevent Apple and Google from controlling how drivers connect smartphones to their vehicles. Suppliers Elektrobit, Harma, Luxoft, QNX, and Xevo have also joined the organization, which is named after an open source version of Ford's AppLink connectivity interface, a system used in over 5 million vehicles globally.

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The non-profit group's goal is to promote more choice in how drivers connect to in-car technologies like dashboard displays, steering wheel controls and voice recognition systems. By using an open source platform, the automakers hope to set a standard by which they and their suppliers can integrate smartphones with vehicles, and thereby attract developers who can then integrate the universal linking technology into their software.

Toyota has so far resisted including Apple's CarPlay and Google's Android Auto in its vehicles, arguing that doing so would diminish safety and security standards. Ford offers them on all its 2017 model vehicles, but remains supportive of an open-source software platform that all app developers can use as an alternative to Carplay and Android Auto.

The open source project will be managed by Livio, a software startup Ford acquired in 2013. Livio will work with early adopters to build the interfaces and infotainment systems for each vehicle environment.

Apple's own system, CarPlay, brings Maps, Phone, Messages, Music, Podcasts, and a number of third-party apps, such as Spotify, to a vehicle's dashboard. Apple announced CarPlay with several big-name partners already on board, like BMW, Ford, GM, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Nissan, and more.

Due to Apple's commitment to user privacy, CarPlay collects very little data from users and car manufacturers. According to information released by Porsche, Apple only collects information on whether a car is accelerating while CarPlay is in use. This is in stark contrast to Android Auto, which collects a lot more car data when in use.

Related Roundup: CarPlay
Tags: Toyota, Ford

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