Thursday, November 19, 2015
Why The Apple Watch Is The Best Thing To Happen To CarPlay [Opinion]
Let me say this right off the bat... if you use Apple CarPlay in your car, go get an Apple Watch for an even better CarPlay experience.
Allow me to explain in depth what I mean. I am really excited to get this out, because what I've found over the last couple of weeks since getting an Apple Watch is awesome!
Apple has only recently forayed into two new businesses - Car Entertainment with CarPlay, and Wearables with the Apple Watch. The great thing about mobile ecosystems, be it iOS or Android, is that all devices that run in the ecosystem often seem to work great in tandem. iOS probably does a better job than Android, extending into home computers.
When the Apple Watch was launched earlier this year, it was welcomed with plenty of skepticism. A first generation product from any company is expected to be less than perfect, but to be fair to Apple, they have made some significant improvements in performance and features with WatchOS 2.
People have complained about the sluggish interface on the watch. Apps take a long time to load but with WatchOS 2 supporting native apps, that is bound to improve.
So, does the Apple Watch play nice with CarPlay? The answer is a resounding Yes! In fact, it plays so much better that it takes your CarPlay experience to the next level. And that next level features much more easy-to-use functionality.
This is what the Apple Watch experience is like inside a car equipped with CarPlay...
1. Siri: Perhaps the only reason you need to own an Apple Watch with CarPlay is Siri. The way the voice assistant works using the Watch is way different from trying to use Siri from your car dashboard.
CarPlay users will be familiar with using Siri while driving. First and foremost, the audio source cuts out when Siri is activated. Secondly, she takes her time in processing your request.
Enter the Apple Watch! No more audio cutting out or delays in processing. For some reason, Siri works much better on the wrist. Just activate Siri by long-pressing the digital crown and speak your command. The audio continues playing in the background and when Siri is ready to process your command, it just happens.
Try Siri from your wrist for everything from sending messages to making calls, getting directions and playing music... The experience is way better than trying to accomplish these tasks from your dashboard.
2. Navigation: If you're like me and have an aftermarket CarPlay head unit in your vehicle, you know that getting directions in CarPlay has its quirks. If you use voice-guided directions, for example, you music volume lowers when the guidance speaks up. I have voice turned off when navigating for that sole reason.
Enter the Apple Watch! Now you are alerted with a tap on your wrist each time you need to make a turn when getting directions. The Apple Watch's haptic alerts are strong yet gentle. You can adjust the intensity of the tap but having such an alert is great when you don't use voice guidance for directions.
With the Apple Watch you won't have to deal with interruptions to the audio source when getting directions. When you feel a tap on your wrist, you know it's time to make that turn.
3. Music: Changing tracks, finding specific artists or songs, playing playlists etc. can all be done much more easily with the Apple Watch using Siri. Of course, you could do this on your head unit but trust me, it is a way better experience from the wrist.
4. Hey Siri: Hey Siri has major issues getting to work when connected to a CarPlay dashboard. It works sketchily and unreliably. With the new iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, you don't need to be connected to a power source to use Hey Siri but even then, when you're using CarPlay, good luck getting it to work every time.
Enter the Apple Watch! No power source needed even though when using CarPlay you are connected to power. But when CarPlay finally goes wireless, this will help a lot. And again, no cutting out of the audio source. Just say 'Hey Siri' at your wrist and she is ready to listen to your command.
One thing to note here, you need to have the Apple Watch on your wrist for Hey Siri to work. The command doesn't work if the watch is just lying around and not worn.
A few things to keep in mind
Okay, while all those good things make the Apple Watch a must-have for every CarPlay user, there are a few things to keep in mind.
- When using Siri on your watch, you may have to turn down the volume in your car so that she can hear you better. But I've found Siri to work quite well at most times with relatively loud background noise. For the best experience, however, turn down the volume.
- Sometimes you don't want that tap on your wrist while getting directions. Well, there is no way around it for now. As long as you're using Apple Maps in CarPlay for directions and wearing an Apple Watch, you have to make do with that tap. You can, however, turn haptic feedback all the way down on the watch in settings. The lowest setting results in a beep more than a tap.
- One thing the watch can't do for CarPlay is launch apps. If the app is installed on your watch Siri will launch it when asked to do so, but only on the watch. The iPhone app doesn't launch, hence no app launch in CarPlay. This feature would be great but Apple doesn't allow Siri to launch apps on your iPhone when connected to CarPlay for safety reasons.
Maybe some of you already use an Apple Watch with CarPlay. How has your experience been? I personally love having the Apple Watch while driving. It is also safer to use rather than having to glance on your dashboard while driving in my opinion.
Sound off in the comments below if you wish to add to this topic.
A Sneak Peek
I recently bought this Satechi Watch Mount which allows you to mount the watch onto your steering wheel. Keep an eye out for that review, coming soon!
Also, if you're looking to buy an Apple Watch, Amazon has a few listings that offer brand new items for a slightly lower price than getting it in the Apple Store (including sales tax). Check it out here.
Top image mashup source: Apple
By AppRadioWorld at 4:43 PM