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Sunday, September 27, 2015

CarPlay Works Well With The New iPhone 6s; Subtle Differences From iPhone 6

If you own an iPhone 6 and are thinking about upgrading to the newer iPhone 6s or 6s Plus, you may have read mixed opinions about doing so. Are the new iPhones really worth the upgrade from an iPhone 6?

Most of the early reviews have raved about Apple's newest feature - 3D Touch, which is available only on the newer iPhones. And I have to be honest, it is very convenient. It takes a little getting used to though but once you've tried it out a few times, it grows on you.

For the car tech enthusiasts out there who are wondering if the iPhone 6s has any differences in CarPlay over the iPhone 6, I may have some answers for you. My preordered iPhone 6s 128GB Space Gray arrived yesterday and I was eager to test it out and compare it to the iPhone 6 in CarPlay.

iPhone 6s vs. iPhone 6 - Apple CarPlay Differences (if any)

You wouldn't expect there to be any differences in CarPlay between the two devices as CarPlay is an iOS feature and both phones run the latest version. But there are a dew differences which are very subtle. Whether these warrant an upgrade or not, is up to you.

Testing setup: Pioneer AppRadio 4 SPH-DA120, iPhone 6, iPhone 6s (both identical iTunes restores) and a stopwatch for lag times.

1. CarPlay interface on the iPhone 6s is possibly quicker: Apple's newer A9 processor in the iPhone 6s means a lot of processing power. So, understandably, the CarPlay interface is possibly a little snappier on the newer phone.

The difference is almost negligible though. I tested CarPlay launch time, switching apps, and scrolling through lists.

2. 3D Touch means nothing: The new 3D Touch feature on the iPhone 6s means nothing to CarPlay. Obviously, when using 3D Touch on the iPhone, you don't see any of its features on the head unit. None of the 'Peek and Pop' windows show up in CarPlay.

For example, 3D Touch can allow you to peek at a location by lightly touching an address in messages. The little pop-up on the iPhone shows you a map of the location. But on the CarPlay screen, the messages app is displayed until you press deeply to launch the Maps app on both devices.

Source: Apple

Of course, 3D Touch isn't designed to enhance CarPlay in any way, but I was curious to know if it affected CarPlay.

3. Siri: Siri is much better in iOS 9 but there aren't many differences between the iPhone 6 and 6s. There were a couple of times Siri took longer to come up with a response on the iPhone 6 but this may well be due to the network I was using. I wasn't able to reproduce these results in subsequent attempts.

I asked Siri things like "give me directions to home", "find me the nearest Starbucks", and "play songs by Calvin Harris" for the purpose of this test.

4. Touch ID: This is probably the only thing that's noticeably different between the iPhone 6 and 6s. The new Touch ID home button on the iPhone 6s is supposed to be faster than its predecessor and it showed a few times.

Although you can set CarPlay to work without having to unlock your iPhone, I chose not to for testing purposes. The iPhone 6s unlocks almost instantly every time, whereas the iPhone 6 sometimes required me to reposition my finger.

5. Third-party applications: I wasn't able to test out all the third-party apps but tried out Spotify, Stitcher and TuneIn. I didn't really notice any differences between the two devices here.

6. iPhone cases and mounts: Although this has nothing to do with CarPlay, I should mention it here. Most iPhone 6 cases will fit the iPhone 6s without any issues. The same goes for car mounts. I was able to use my Steelie Connect Case System for iPhone 6 (which I've been using lately) with my iPhone 6s and they worked perfectly.

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