But what exactly does that mean?
Phone mirroring interfaces like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto have gone a long way towards improving the in-car infotainment experience. Still, automakers have room to grow before their technology feels on par with what companies like Apple offer on smartphones.
"With their ecosystem and their seamless customer experience, they have shaped the customer expectation," CEO of Porsche Cars North America Kjell Gruner admitted of Apple during an interview with Automotive News Europe. "We have to integrate [digital] with the physical experience because we are a very, very physical product. If you don't have digital experiences, you are not on the radar screen. You're irrelevant."
Gruner described "digital experiences" as many elements, including the car instantly pairing with a phone or downloadable performance software. This type of innovation seems easy on futuristic models like the 2021 Porsche Taycan EV but more difficult on a flat-six sports car like the 911.
The Taycan is Porsche's most tech-focused car with 53-inches of screens boasting real-time traffic information, charging station maps, Wireless Apple CarPlay and Apple Music integration, and a Track Precision app. And the 2022 Porsche 911 will be the first Porsche to offer Android Auto. Still, these screens take longer to boot up compared to an average smartphone.
"With [the iPhone], startup time is zero. That's what customers are used to," Gruner explained. "But that is because the phone is always on. If you lock a car, that is like turning off your iPhone. And when was the last time you really turned off your iPhone? Customers are turning on the car, and they expect it is all there, navigation, whatever. That customer expectation is coming from those devices, like it or not."
Porsche designed the screens to stay on even after the driver steps out of the vehicle; they shut off only when the driver locks the car. While this programming gives the appearance of being "always on," it can drain the battery. For customers stepping into the Taycan from a gas-powered model, getting used to exiting the car without pressing a button or turning an ignition can be an odd feeling. Porsche, and other automakers like it, face challenges to reach smartphone levels of seamless technology.