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How Apple CarPlay Works

Leave it to Siri
Apple Maps has improved quite a bit since its early days.
Apple Maps has improved quite a bit since its early days.
(Courtesy of Apple Inc.)

If you've fallen in love with Siri and can't stand to be without her voice for even a second, CarPlay will make your dreams come true. (Also, you should see the critically acclaimed film and cautionary tale known as "Her."Maybe take some notes.)Siri will talk to you right through your car, surrounding you with her dulcet, stilted tones. She'll check your calendar and e-mails and tell you about upcoming meetings and appointments as you drive. She'll read your text messages to you and allow you to dictate your response, which she will then send on its merry way. And she'll help you make hands-free calls. Witty banter is probably entirely up to you, though. This is Siri, not Pepper Potts from "Iron Man."

At its debut in Geneva, CarPlay only had a few non-Apple pre-approved apps available. Siri is a tough gatekeeper. Most of what you can get out of the third-party gate is music apps, which makes sense. Cars and music are a time-honored tradition, even in the era of smartphones. Stitcher, Beats Radio, Spotify and iHeartRadio are all there. Rdio is not, if that's a deal breaker for you.

But you know what else is not there? You probably don't need to be told, but here it is anyway: Google Maps. There's no way Siri is allowing that Street View-ing app-hole onto her iOS. You'll use Apple Maps with CarPlay, and you'll like it. Actually, you probably will like it. Apple Maps has improved quite a bit since its early days. Plus, there's the bonus of having the map on your car's screen and the spoken turn-by-turn directions coming through your speakers, rather than having to strain to hear Siri when she's perched in your cup holder.