Polestar, one of the first automakers to adopt Google’s Android Automotive operating system for its electric vehicles, is now throwing a bone to all the iOS users. The company announced that its Polestar 2 electric sedan now supports Apple CarPlay, thanks to a recent over-the-air software update.
People who own both a Polestar 2 and an iPhone will now be able to mirror their phone’s display on the vehicle’s 11-inch portrait-oriented touchscreen. In addition to accessing some of their apps, CarPlay users will also be able to use Siri to change music or find locations on Apple Maps.
The introduction of CarPlay support is interesting because Polestar made a name for itself by establishing a direct link to Apple’s main rival, Google. In addition to burnishing its reputation for gorgeous minimalist design and powerful electric performance, the automaker’s decision to use Google’s native Android OS was seen as a potential game changer in the world of automotive software.
Car companies have built infotainment systems on Android in the past, but they essentially had to fork the open-source operating system and build their own solution on top. A big benefit to this embedded approach is that customers gain instant access to Android Auto-approved apps like Google Maps, Play Music, or Google Assistant without needing to use their smartphones.
Another is that it has access to the car’s functions, meaning it can control climate settings or send you maintenance alerts. This native version of Android is also updatable, meaning Polestar and Google can push over-the-air software updates to improve the car’s functions long after it’s sold.
But, for those who prefer living their digital lives exclusively within Apple’s software ecosystem, Polestar is ready to accommodate you. Moreover, the company has said it will support Apple’s more expansive next-generation version of CarPlay, which would be displayed on every screen available.
Most of the auto industry is taking a wait-and-see approach to Apple’s more overbearing vision for the future of CarPlay. But not Polestar.