In-Car Tech

Here's what today's Apple Event means for your car

Today Apple unveiled its latest lineup of new products.

Photo courtesy of Apple

Today's Apple Event hits home on many levels for consumers. Literally. The tech giant is aiming to make everyday life easier and more connected for their customers. Connectivity is extending past the iPhone and iMac, and into your home, your car, and your ears.

Earlier this year, Apple announced a host of changes that would effect Apple Maps, Apple CarPlay, and other components. You can read about iOS 14 updates here, Apple Maps upgrades here, and phone-as-key technology here.

How does today's news effect your car? Let's take a closer look at the products Apple debuted and what we know about them.

Apple HomePod Mini

Apple HomePod Mini

Photo courtesy of Apple

In addition to a slew of features that includes acting as synched surround sound speakers and the ability to handoff entertainment from a variety of apps like iHeartRadio, Pandora, and Amazon, Apple HomePods will be able to send suggestions to Apple CarPlay.

The real-life application of the technology may look a little something like this.

Scenario: You call your spouse and ask them if they need anything while you're out. The spouse asks you to swing by the house of a friend of you child's and pick up the Girl Scout cookies you both forgot you ordered. There's only one problem. You don't know where the kid lives.

Apple's Solution: At home, your spouse has their phone and contacts list connected to the HomePod. Said spouse then asks the HomePod to send the address to Apple CarPlay in the family's BMW 5 Series that you're driving. While in the car, using Siri, you tell Apple CarPlay to navigate you to that address.

There's also an intercom function. This means that you can broadcast from one HomePod to a series of others and Apple CarPlay. Think of this as a modern household intercom system that connects all the elements of your household. Think of how much easier it just got to survey your family to see what they want on their pizza.

Perhaps most importantly, Apple will allow customers to opt-out of allowing Apple to store their recordings.

Wireless iPhone charging

Apple iPhone 12

Photo courtesy of Apple

Apple is making wireless charging its primary method of charging for iPhone 12. The company is already working with Belkin on a new accessories line that includes car mounts and multi-charger docks.

In response to real world user experience, and with an eye toward sustainability, Apple has announced that it will no longer include Lightning headphones or power adapters in iPhone boxes. It's the end of an era, really. This is projected to save 2 million metric tons of carbon emissions annually, the equivalent of removing 450,000 cars from the road each year.

What will the iPhone box include. There will now be a USB-C to Lightning cable. That means that if your car only has USB-A (commonly referred to as USB) ports, you'll need to invest in an adapter if you want to plug in your phone to the car. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, along with wireless charging, are becoming more popular as a new car offering so if you purchase a new car, you may not have to worry about this issue.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

The 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV will go into production this summer.

Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

Right before Christmas, Chevrolet showed off the new headlights it's created for the forthcoming 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV. Now it's time for another bit of news regarding the model.

The Bolt EUV will be the first Chevrolet offered with Super Cruise, a hands-free driver assistance system that allows for advanced computer-lead driving on over 200,000 miles of North America roads.

Chevy's newest Bolt will join the already-on-sale Bolt EV, the all-electric car slash hatchback slash crossover that we've come accustomed to seeing on the road (in some parts of the country). The Bolt EUV is expected to be more crossover-like and less car-like. The Bolt EV is expected to get a refresh for the 2022 model year with looks to match the EUV.

The 2022 Bolt's EUV lighting signature features a sequential front turn signal and LED daytime running light. The video was first shared on TikTok by automotive content creator Pushing Pistons.

The company hasn't let much information about the model slip, but the automotive universe is rife with speculation. The Bolt EUV teaser released by Chevy earlier this year makes the vehicle look a lot like the Buick Velite 7. The what? You've probably never heard of the model because it's built for the Chinese market, but it's an electric SUV in the General Motors portfolio that could be rebadged as a Bolt EUV for America. It wouldn't be unprecedented.

Despite low adoption rates for electric vehicles nationwide, sales of the Bolt EV were up in the third quarter of 2020, to 5,682 from 4,830 in 2019.

2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV Chevrolet teased the 2022 Bolt EUV by revealing new blade-like headlights late last year. Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

The Bolt EUV is part of a larger electrified product portfolio General Motors is expected to offer. The company recently detailed their vehicle plans by brand.

General Motors will begin production of the Bolt EV and Bolt EUV this summer.

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A new technology by Panasonic charges a smartphone uniquely.

Photo courtesy of Panasonic Automotive

Most wireless phone chargers currently installed in vehicles require a phone to be docked loosely into a specific area - to touch a certain area of the charging pad. If the phone shifts while going around a turn or because of a rough road, the phone loses its charge until you move it back into place. It can be as annoying as it sounds, especially at night when the phone lights up every time its charge status changes.

New in-vehicle wireless charging technology announced by Panasonic Automotive today changes up the wiring behind traditional wireless charging technology in an innovative way. The two types, moving coil and static coil, allow devices to be recharged quickly while vehicles turned on.

The moving coil charge variant of the wireless charging pad has patent pending tracking technology that targets a device once it's in the tray. The coil moves into the optimum position to align with the mobile device's charging coil and begins charging with 15 watts of charging power, one of the highest rates of charge in the industry. In addition to being able to move toward the device in need of charging, the technology has better coupling capability when compared to other wireless charging systems.

The company says that the new tech meets or exceeds most current in-vehicle charging systems.

Many new vehicles offer available wireless charging. Nearly all offer cabled charging via a USB Type A or USB Type C charging port. These wireless charging trays are frequently located at the front of the center console while others sit inside the console or require a phone to fit into a charging slot in the console.

For the 2021 model year, Hyundai began offering wireless charginng with cooling fans that work to alleviate the problem of high-heat generation that occurs while charging at higher speeds for prolonged periods of time. High temperatures may cause a device to stop working and a charger to malfunction.

In order for the system to cahrge a smartphone, the phone must be wireless charging compatible.

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