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Apple's CarPlay pulls into the New York Auto Show

Smart phone functionality can now be part of a your car's instrument panel
Smart phone functionality can now be part of ... 02:30

Apple's (AAPL) CarPlay, the iPhone interface for automobiles announced last month, has made an appearance at the New York International Auto Show.

This is the first American premier of the new system, which debuted at the Geneva Motor Show in March. The timing isn't Apple's usual approach to product introductions, but this is a new system that depends on partner car manufacturers.

In New York, CarPlay was in a Mercedes Benz C-Class. It looks very similar to the interface you would expect to see on the latest version of iOS on your iPhone, "but it's a lot more simplistic," says Tim Stevens, editor-at-large for CNET.

Apple's Siri voice interface becomes a hands- and eyes-free way to make calls, listen to voicemails, and to gain access to contacts. Drivers can use Apple Maps for navigation as well as information on traffic conditions. Users can send and receive text messages. Also available is audio entertainment, whether in the form of downloaded music, iTunes Radio, podcasts, and audiobooks.

The product should provide tough competition to a variety of tech firms offering music, navigation, communications, and other services targeting the automotive industry. Google is expected to launch its version later this summer. Microsoft has an option too. "It's going to be an interesting war for the dashboard going forward," said CNET's Stevens.

CarPlay is expected to ship this year in cars made by Ferrari, Honda, Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz, and Volvo. Other makers, including Chevrolet, Ford, BMW, Kia, Toyota, and Subaru, have agreed to include the systems in future models.

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