Is Elon Musk's Quarrel With Tim Cook Why Teslas Don't Have CarPlay?

Technology / 12 Comments

Even the cheapest car on sale in the USA has Apple CarPlay.

One has to be careful not to tread on the toes of Tesla fanboys, but we're going to do it anyway.

Seriously, Teslarati? Every model in the range has claimed self-driving, unbeatable range, and fierce acceleration.

Yet, these cars still aren't Apple CarPlay or Android Auto compatible. Retailing at just under $14,000, the Chevrolet Spark is the cheapest new car on sale in the USA, and it has both. Perhaps it's because the Tesla CEO is too busy trying to sell robots using a man in a suit doing the worst imitation of the Blue Man Group we've ever seen.

According to Bloomberg, the reason might actually be a feud between Musk and the CEO of Apple, Tim Cook. The question was first raised by Mark Gurman at Bloomberg, providing some compelling arguments.

2016-2018 Chevrolet Spark Apple Car Play Chevrolet
What Android Auto Is Toyota

First, it's not Apple's fault. CarPlay is readily available to every major manufacturer, as stated on its website. You have to search long and hard to find a new car that doesn't have Apple CarPlay. In fact, Tesla might be the only manufacturer that doesn't offer it as standard. Not even the magnificent Model S Plaid.

We admit Tesla's existing infotainment is good, but Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration will add another layer of functionality. Not to mention the safety aspect, as both these systems allow people to interact with their phones via a touchscreen instead of the actual phone.

Gurman's first suggestion is simply protection of intellectual property. Tesla might not want a third party interfering with its interface. And let's not forget Apple is also working on a car with the help of Toyota, and a glance at Tesla's operating software could provide valuable information. The second theory is more likely since Apple would get called out within seconds if it copied Tesla's software.

2021 Tesla Model X Plaid Central Screen Tesla
2021 Tesla Model X Plaid Center Console Lid Tesla
2021 Tesla Model S Plaid Screen Tesla

Back in 2015, Elon Musk said that Apple is a graveyard of ex-Tesla employees. Why would he say such a thing? Well, it was around the time Apple announced that it was working on a car. Instead of keeping a close eye on a competitor, Musk followed his usual strategy of tweeting weird things. The President of Bolivia, Luis Arce, recently accused Musk's tweets of playing a role in the country's 2019 coup. Once you've been accused of possibly starting a coup, it may be time to put the Android phone down.

There's definitely some kind of playground feud going on, but it still doesn't explain why Android Auto isn't available.

One also has to wonder why Tesla owners aren't making more noise about this. Porsche was lambasted for not having Android Auto until recently, and rightly so. And aren't Tesla owners proud of their status as early adopters? Surely Teslas and iPhones should go together like beer and Nascar?

2021 Tesla Model S Plaid Front View Driving Tesla
2021 Tesla Model S Plaid Rear View Driving Tesla
2021 Tesla Model S Plaid Central Console Tesla
Source Credits: Bloomberg

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