Aux 2.0: Apple’s SharePlay lets everyone queue up a song in the car

Gone are the days of turning off your iPhone’s Bluetooth at a red light to allow your friend to wirelessly connect to your car and play some tunes. Say goodbye to passing the USB cable to a passenger so they can have a turn streaming their podcast. New Apple SharePlay features will make fighting for sharing control of in-car entertainment easier for iPhone users.

“Now when the driver’s iPhone is connected to CarPlay, any passenger’s iPhone will automatically suggest joining their session. Just tap to connect,” said Anne Park Shedlosky, director of software program management at Apple, at the company’s 2023 Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) Monday. “From there, it’s easy to play your favorite music, control playback and enjoy the ride together.”

SharePlay is Apple’s new solution to watching a TV show or a movie with someone who’s not in the same room as you. It allows friends and family to watch, play games or listen to music together across Apple devices during a FaceTime call. With simultaneous playback and shared controls, users can see and hear everything at the same time on separate devices.

With SharePlay in the car, instead of FaceTime being the conduit for shared content, it’ll be through CarPlay, the Apple platform that runs on the user’s phone and projects navigation, music apps, messaging, phone calls and voice commands to the vehicle’s display screen.

During WWDC, Apple also announced other updates to SharePlay. Instead of connecting through FaceTime, users can bring devices together to instantly start a shared activity using SharePlay. For example, if you’re going on a run with a friend and want to jog to the beat of the same tunes, you can link up your music. Apps that support SharePlay, like Twitch, will also now allow users to bring their iPhones together to watch the same livestream.

Apple didn’t share much car-related news at its developer conference. By contrast, a month ago at Google’s developer conference, the Big Tech giant pushed further into the automotive foreground with a number of new features and services designed for cars, including video conferencing, gaming and YouTube.

Google said that it expects Android Auto, the Android counterpart to Apple’s CarPlay, to be available in around 200 million vehicles by the end of 2023. The company also said it expects the number of cars with the Android Automotive operating system built-in to double by the end of this year. Already, brands like Chevrolet, Polestar, Renault, Honda and Volvo have Google built-in, allowing them to be integrated directly with Google apps like Assistant, Maps and Play.

Read more about WWDC 2023 on TechCrunch

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