Apple CarPlay Being Used At The Pumps Is An Odd Idea

Technology / Comments

Remember, if something is free, you're the product.

We're all pissed off enough that we have to buy gas at these prices. But, Apple now says you at least won't have to get out of your car to do it. The tech giant has plans with Apple CarPlay to make purchasing fuel from your car a reality. Apple says the feature will roll out once the newest version of CarPlay does, which promises to offer a more complete in-car experience.

What remains unclear to us is exactly how Apple plans to get the pump from its resting place to your car. That on its own is an incredibly complex process that varies greatly from car to car. A Porsche 911 does not have the same pump logistics as a Toyota Camry. Still, Apple doesn't seem concerned with that process for now.

Apple WWDC22
2021-2022 Ford Mustang Mach-E Apple Car Play CarBuzz
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Porsche

In essence, according to Jack Barger, Apple's Senior VP of Marketing, via Reuters "the idea [is] that consumers could navigate to a Sinclair station and purchase fuel from their vehicle navigation screen." In order to use the new feature, which should be coming this fall, iPhone owners will need to download a fuel company's app (Shell, for example) to their phone and set up payment via that app.

Then, once the app is ready, users can do what Barger describes above, using their navigation to get to a gas station and buy gas for themselves. Of course, that does mean you'll want to have a number of participating gas station apps on your phone, which will surely want some kind of information, cookies (so they can sell your data when you blindly hit "accept all"), and payment from you for some service or another.

These are not the only issues we see with this. Right now, Apple doesn't charge anyone for CarPlay. There is absolutely no way that this changes once transactions within CarPlay become a thing, convenient or not. For now, CarPlay is convenient but Apple has laid plans to turn it into a marketplace.

Apple WWDC22
Apple WWDC22
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Those transactions, be they to rent a movie to play on your car's infotainment screen or to somehow magic a gas nozzle into your car's fuel tank, will make Apple money. It will, of course, want more of that. Which will mean more services, more payments, and more profit. At the worst, CarPlay (and likely Android Auto soon after) then becomes a subscription service, just like everything else, decentralizing your ownership of your vehicle.

Let's dial back the Orwellian mindset for a moment. Gas stations are full of ways to get your credit card info stolen. With the backing from a large and (mildly-ish) reputable company like Apple, the odds your information is stolen at a gas station is at least slimmer. And in some States, gas attendants are still required by law, which means you won't have to get out to pay $1,000 for a tank of gas, at least.

Additionally, with the latest version of CarPlay set to compete with automakers for the car's valuable data, Apple gathering support for further marketplace initiatives is going to be a long haul. Despite automakers trying and failing to integrate payment into their cars, these brands would certainly rather do it themselves than let Apple.

Apple WWDC22
Apple WWDC22
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2023 Kia Seltos Apple Car Play KIA
Source Credits: Reuters

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