Forget CarPlay or Android Auto: for Audi owners and buyers in 2022, the big news in in-car entertainment is the arrival of a native Apple Music app. That means you'll be able to stream music directly to your car without having to connect via Apple or Google's in-car tech.
This is something we've already seen with Android, where Android Automotive enables manufacturers to base their own own in-car systems on Android Automotive without necessarily having to do things Google's way. And Audi, who announced the news in its official press room (opens in new tab), isn't the first car maker to offer a native Apple Music app: Porsche did it first with the electric Taycan. But Audi reaches a lot more people than Porsche does, so this is a much bigger deal in my opinion.
Apple Music vs CarPlay: what's the difference?
Having a built-in Apple Music app means Audi drivers have a better option than CarPlay or Bluetooth streaming: they get all the benefits of Apple Music without having to use Apple's software or interface, so they'll have a more Audi experience. It'll be coming to new Audis in North America, Japan and Europe this year, and current 2022 models that people have already bought should get the software update over the air automatically. Once it's been updated it's just a matter of entering your Apple ID in the infotainment screen.
This doesn't mean that CarPlay is going away: pretty much every car maker, with the exception of Tesla, either offers or intends to offer CarPlay in at least some of their models. But it suggests that Apple is a bit more relaxed about getting its services into cars: previously it was CarPlay or the highway.