Apple has launched CarPlay, along with auto manufacturers. CarPlay lets iPhone users make calls, use Maps, listen to music and access messages with just a word or a touch. Users can control CarPlay from the car’s native interface or by pushing-and-holding the voice control button on the steering wheel to activate Siri.

Greg Joswiak (Vice president, iPhone and iOS Product Marketing, Apple): CarPlay has been designed from the ground up to provide drivers with an incredible experience using their iPhone in the car.

Vehicles from Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo will premiere CarPlay to their drivers this week. Additional auto manufacturers bringing CarPlay to their drivers include BMW, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar, Land Rover, Kia Motors, Mitsubishi, Nissan, PSA Peugeot Citroën, Subaru, Suzuki and Toyota.

How does Apple CarPlay work?

Once iPhone is connected to a vehicle with CarPlay integration, Siri lets users access contacts, make calls, return missed calls or listen to voicemails. When incoming messages or notifications arrive, Siri provides an eyes-free experience by responding to requests through voice commands, by reading drivers’ messages, and letting them dictate responses or make a call.

CarPlay also works with Maps to anticipate destinations based on recent trips via contacts, emails or texts, and provides routing instructions, traffic conditions and ETA. Users can also ask Siri and receive spoken turn-by-turn directions, along with Maps, which will appear on the car’s built-in display.

CarPlay gives drivers access to their music, podcasts, audiobooks and iTunes Radio through listening choices from the car’s built-in controls, or through Siri. CarPlay also supports third-party audio like Spotify and iHeartRadio.

Apple CarPlay is available as an update to iOS 7 and works with lightning-enabled iPhones, including iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c and iPhone 5. CarPlay will be available in cars shipping in 2014.

[Image courtesy: Volvo]