Apple dives deeper into autos with software for car dashboard

Apple Inc on Monday announced it would more deeply integrate its software into the instrument cluster on the dashboard of cars that will start shipping next year, while analysts and developers are keenly awaiting any hints about how a future mixed-reality headset might work.

Published : 6 June 2022, 06:26 PM
Updated : 6 June 2022, 06:26 PM

Apple also announced that its new Macbook Air laptop was "completely redesigned" around its new M2 silicon processor, which it says is 35 percent faster than the previous M1 chip. The new laptop will be 2.7 pounds (1.2 kg).

Apple unveiled an updated version of its Car Play software at its annual software developer conference. The new software for the first time will time power the instrument cluster on a car's dashboard showing speed, directions and gas mileage. Apple said that automakers such as Ford Motor Co F.N, Nissan Motor Co 7201.Tand Honda Motor Corp 7267.T are planning to use the new software and that cars with it will start shipping next year.

Apple also announced that users can buy now and pay later for purchases. Apple Pay Later will be available anywhere that Apple Pay is accepted and managed through the Apple Wallet. Users can make four equal payments with no interest or fees.

Apple also added an edit button to iMessage for sent messages, beating Twitter TWTR.N to a long-requested feature.

Apple also introduced tweaks to popular apps including better rendering of landmarks on its Maps software, live sport scores on Apple TV and making the shared video-watching app available in messaging.

The tech giant is also adding a tool called "Safety Check" to turn off access to sensitive information for people in abusive situations.

While a headset announcement is unlikely on Monday, developers expect the future headset to likely to use cameras to pass a view of the outside world into a high-resolution display that can overlay digital objects on physical surroundings and could arrive in March of next year, said Anshel Sag, principal analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy. Such a device would be Apple's first entry into a new category of computing device since the Apple Watch shipped in 2015 and would put it in direct competition with Meta, which has disclosed plans for a mixed-reality headset code named "Cambria" to be released this year.

But neither Sag nor other developers and analysts interviewed by Reuters expect a sneak peek at the headset on Monday.

Instead, they will be looking for buried hints about the future device such as improvements in how Apple's devices process augmented reality scenes. They will be on the lookout for small surprises in so-called "spatial" features in which devices understand how they are being used in three-dimensional space, said Andrew McHugh, who co-founded an app called Vivid that lets users virtually step inside their videos and photos. Apple has previously rolled out features such as spatial audio for its wireless headphones, where sounds change as users turn their heads.

Apple might announce an updated version of its Mac Pro computer, which is aimed at users such as developers who need a lot of computing power and is the last machine in Apple's lineup to use a central processor from Intel Corp. That machine would likely feature a powerful processor made up of multiple Apple Silicon chips fused together with advanced packaging technology, said Ben Bajarin, head of consumer technologies at Creative Strategies.

The Apple Store was offline on Monday morning, a move that in the past has been followed by new products being added to the site.