Apple CarPlay Updates from WWDC 2024: A Deeply Customizable Design System

Apple CarPlay Updates from WWDC 2024: A Deeply Customizable Design System

Apple provides updates about the Next Generation of CarPlay, a design system that brings together the best of iPhone and the best of your car in a unified, consistent experience across all driver's displays. This new system is designed to be familiar where it matters, yet new, beautiful, and unique to each vehicle.

Customization for Automakers

One of the most exciting aspects of the Next Generation of CarPlay is the extensive customization features it offers to automakers. In partnership with the Apple Design Team, automakers can tailor the look and functionality of CarPlay to each vehicle, creating a co-branded experience that celebrates both brands.

The instrument cluster is one of the most expressive new areas in the Next Generation of CarPlay. Gauge designs can be customized for each automaker, supporting unique instrument cluster layouts and surfacing various types of iOS and vehicle content.

Typography and Styling

At the heart of the customization options is a powerful typography system. Apple's SF family of typefaces, which are variable fonts, allow qualities like weight, width, and corner softness to be adjusted on a continuous scale. This provides a huge range of stylistic options for designers.

The design system also allows customization of element widths, corner softness, gauge arcs, colors, and gradients. Automakers can even add classic gauge elements like analog needles and tick marks.

Gauge Functionality

No matter the style of the gauge, the Next Generation of CarPlay ensures it will support all necessary functionality and features in a logical and consistent manner. This includes:

  • Cruise control and speed limiter indicators
  • Road signage and alternate speed units
  • Low fuel or charge warnings
  • Tachometers with gear indicators and redlines
  • Power meters with boost and regenerative braking
  • Hybrid gauges showing both power and RPM
  • Secondary gauges like engine coolant temperature

Modular Layout System

The Next Generation of CarPlay features a modular layout system that allows automakers to combine different types of gauges into various configurations. Gauges are self-contained, resizable components that can be arranged to best fit the hardware size, shape, and ergonomic preferences of each vehicle.

Automakers can also add custom wallpapers across every display to further showcase their brand and complement the chosen gauge style and layout.

The modular layout system ensures that the Next Generation of CarPlay can adapt to displays of all shapes and sizes. Components can flex to fit wide, slim driver displays or more irregular screen shapes. Compact layout options are also available for automakers who want to maximize the impact of maps, ADAS, or media.

Dynamic Content for Drivers

While automakers have extensive control over the design and layout, the Next Generation of CarPlay also empowers drivers to customize their experience. A reserved space for dynamic content allows drivers to easily access and flip through various options using steering wheel controls.

Dynamic content includes:

  • Maps and navigation
  • Now Playing media information
  • Vehicle information like trip computer and tire pressure
  • Advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS)
  • Notifications and pop-ups

This content can be displayed in the instrument cluster, as well as the center and passenger displays, providing even more opportunities for automakers to surface their unique features and content.

A Unified, Co-Branded Experience

The Next Generation of CarPlay represents a significant leap forward in the integration of iPhone and car experiences. With its deeply customizable design system, flexible layout options, and dynamic content capabilities, it allows automakers to create a unified, co-branded experience that is unique to their vehicles and celebrates their brand alongside Apple's.

As screens continue to replace traditional interfaces in cars, the Next Generation of CarPlay provides an exciting opportunity for automakers to innovate and evolve the in-car experience in partnership with Apple. The result is a familiar yet fresh interface that combines the best of both worlds, delighting drivers who love their iPhones and their cars.

Recent Posts