Toyota is adding tech to older models that should have been included in the first place.
Toyota finally answered our prayers last year when it announced the 2019 Camry and Sienna minivan will receive Apple CarPlay support and Amazon Alexa integration. Better late than never. In the US, the 2020 Sequoia, Tundra, Tacoma and 4Runner also now include Android Auto at long last, but it's still noticeably absent in the Camry. At this point, most people expect both services to be offered as standard, but Toyota is slowly catching up with the competition.
But what if you own a 2018 Toyota Camry or Sienna and missed out on Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa support? Well, we thankfully live in a world where software upgrades can add new tech that wasn't originally available. Toyota has announced that both Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa compatibility can now be retrofitted to the 2018 Camry and 2018 Sienna.
"We are always striving to bring highly desirable services to our vehicles. This new program enables CarPlay and Amazon Alexa on some of our most popular vehicles already on the road." said Steve Basra, vice president of Connected Technologies for Toyota Motor North America. "It's a great opportunity to surprise and delight our existing customers."
Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa installation will be performed at Toyota dealerships. Toyota says that all 2018 Camry and 2018 Sienna owners will receive a notification from the automaker encouraging them to contact their dealer for additional details or to schedule an appointment, which may require a small service charge for installation.
In a separate announcement, Toyota has postponed plans to implement Dedicated Short-Range Communications to its vehicles. Originally, the plan was to roll out the DSRC technology in the US starting in 2021, but Toyota has decided to postpone due to "the need for greater automotive industry commitment as well as federal government support to preserve the 5.9 GHz spectrum band for DSRC." Toyota says it will "continue to re-evaluate the deployment environment as we work toward creating a safer and more efficient driving ecosystem."