Polestar's Apple CarPlay Support Finally Gets An OTA Date

The Polestar 2 is finally getting its long-awaited Apple CarPlay support, though the fact that the electric vehicle automaker announced that on the same day that Apple previewed the next generation of CarPlay means things are getting confusing. Back when the Polestar 2 was first announced, the automaker admitted that its Android Automotive OS-powered dashboard wouldn't, in fact, support Apple's smartphone projection system. Instead, it would follow on as part of the Polestar 2's OTA updates, the company promised. Initially, that was said to be coming in mid-2021, but that deadline came and went with no CarPlay release.

What Polestar 2 owners who prefer iPhone had instead was simple Bluetooth support for their smartphone. That is, admittedly, not such a big compromise in the Polestar 2 specifically. Android Automotive OS — which effectively sees the EV run a vehicle-specific variant of Google's OS natively, rather than projected from a connected phone — has apps for services like Spotify, along with Google Maps and the Google Assistant. If you wanted Apple Music, though, you'd need to stream that from an iPhone via Bluetooth.

Now, Polestar 2 owners have a CarPlay OTA date to look forward to. The automaker confirmed on Twitter that Apple CarPlay would come to the electric vehicle later in June 2022. It'll be the latest in a series of updates delivered wirelessly to the EV, which in the past have added browser support, tweaked low-temperature performance, and even improved range.

Will the Polestar 2 get next-gen Apple CarPlay?

Not so fast, EV fan. It'd be nice to assume that this announcement means the Polestar 2 will not only get the current iteration of CarPlay but also the next-generation version that Apple just revealed at WWDC 2022. Problem is, that's not quite what Polestar has said.

"We're also thrilled to announce that the next generation of CarPlay will be coming to Polestar cars in the future," the automaker confirmed. That isn't, though, quite the same as confirming Polestar's current range of vehicles — which, with the discontinuation of the Polestar 1, right now consists solely of the Polestar 2 in single- and dual-motor form — will be getting that software support. There's a reason for some skepticism, too.

While Apple CarPlay is — like Android Auto — a smartphone projection system, with the processing taking place on the phone, not the vehicle, that's not to say the dashboard plays no part in things. As we saw when Apple added multiscreen support to CarPlay in iOS 13, just because the iPhone could handle it, that didn't mean vehicles themselves could take advantage even if they already claimed CarPlay support. When The Verge polled automakers in 2019 about multiscreen support, none could promise existing models would include it; indeed, even today that specific feature is still only offered by a small subset of cars.

Certainly, Polestar designed its current EV with updates and upgrades in mind, and there's clearly headroom for improvement along the way. The reality is, though, that it's tough to predict exactly what hardware will be required for a complex new feature like next-gen CarPlay. There's no telling that the Polestar 2's architecture will be ready for that when Apple's new system begins to roll out in 2023. As always, then, buy today based on what a car — or phone — will do today, rather than what might be added some way down the line.