Ford commits to continued CarPlay support as GM, Tesla, and Rivian face backlash for holding out

As companies like GM and Rivian face backlash for failing to adopt Apple’s CarPlay platform, Ford is doing the exact opposite. In a statement to 9to5Mac, Ford explained its reasoning for supporting CarPlay…and it has us pondering the future of Ford’s relationship with Apple and next-gen CarPlay.

Ford is using its commitment to CarPlay as a selling point over other EVs from the likes of GM, Tesla, and Rivian. In the last two weeks, GM revealed that it will no longer support CarPlay in its EVs, starting with 2024 model-year vehicles, while Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe doubled down on his company’s resistance to CarPlay.

GM’s decision and Scaringe’s comments have faced widespread backlash from CarPlay fans. Tesla, of course, also continues to be a CarPlay holdout, and there’s no indication that it will ever change.

In a statement to 9to5Mac on Thursday, Ford made it clear that it has no plans to abandon CarPlay, unlike some of its counterparts.

“We continue to offer Apple CarPlay and Android Auto because customers love the capability that enables easy access and control of their smartphone apps – especially our EV customers because some EVs currently do not offer the features,” a spokesperson said.

9to5Mac’s Take

This next-gen CarPlay mockup from Apple sure looks like the interior of a Mustang Mach-E.

This gives a company like Ford a big opening to go all-in on CarPlay. The company has been a staunch supporter of both CarPlay and Android Auto for years. It also just recently rolled out a firmware update to several of its cars, including the Mustang Mach-E, that further improves the CarPlay experience and allows Apple’s interface to overtake more of the car’s infotainment screen.

If anyone is in a position to fully embrace CarPlay, it’s Ford. After all, former Apple exec Doug Field – who headed up the Apple Car “Project Titan” team for several years – now works at Ford as a VP of “EVs and digital systems.” Ford is also on Apple’s list of carmakers committed to supporting its next-gen CarPlay platform.

Polestar is another company on Apple’s next-gen CarPlay list. Interestingly, Polestar CEO Thomas Ingenlath paid a visit to Apple Park last week, as spotted by users on Reddit (thanks, Haydio!). There’s no word on what Ingenlath was up to at Apple Park, but it’s probably safe to assume it was something related to CarPlay.

Apple has said that the first cars with next-gen CarPlay support will be announced this year, in time for the 2024 model year vehicles to start coming off the assembly line. Will Ford or Polestar take the lead and be among the first supporters of the new CarPlay experience? It’d sure make a lot of sense…but we’ll have to wait for an official announcement from Ford and/or Apple to know for sure.

Regardless of what happens with next-gen CarPlay, it’s promising to see companies like Ford be vocal in their commitment to the platform. The company is making some of the best and most popular EVs on the market and has publicly promised to continue investing in its EV business.

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