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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Starting a topic to discuss people's experience with CarPlay in the XC90.

I have only spent 30 minutes with it so far, so very preliminary experience. I suspect there is a bit of a learning curve, which is ironic because that's against Apple's core principle about how their software should just intuitively work. So I'm sure I'll have more to say later, but here's a start...

DISCLAIMER -- I am used to providing detailed feedback on UI's so I am more critical than many. And just because I focus on things I don't love doesn't mean I don't like something overall. Also, I am narrowly focusing on CarPlay here, not on Sensus in general. I look forward to the improvements there but haven't tried them yet.

INTEGRATION WITH SENSUS

Everyone has seen the pictures and early demo video, so not much to report visually. It takes over the bottom pane of the Sensus screen as you have seen. The Navigation and Phone panes instead of displaying the normal information they would instead say something to the effect of "Routing through Apple CarPlay" and "Phone through Apple CarPlay" (I am doing this from memory so my wording might be slightly off). Similarly, if you play music through your phone the Media pane gives a similar message about how music is controlled through CarPlay.

With the exception of being able to hold down the voice commands button to trigger Siri and the screen interface as described above, there is little to no interplay between Sensus and Siri which sometimes can be awkward or jarring. For example, if you click on the Media pane while playing music on your phone through CarPlay it instantly cuts off whatever you were listening to on the phone and switches to one of the car native sources, like SiriusXM or FM. Once you did this you would have to start over with Siri to find whatever you were playing before. In my case I was in one of my playlists and I had to start it over from the beginning. This separation also made it less functional than when you previously could access your phone's music through Bluetooth (which is disabled while using CarPlay) or the iPod option, both of which allowed you to go into the Media pane without automatically switching sources and which allowed you to resume where you left off.

Messages is similarly not integrated. Siri reading your texts is a million times more natural sounding that Sensus, butyou lose the ability to choose to read or close messages using your steering wheels buttons and have to glance over to the screen or hit a virtual button or use Siri voice commands. This was particularly frustrating because Siri wouldn't automatically prompt you to read new messages when they arrived like Sensus used to.

CarPlay UI

I have to say, overall I wasn't impressed. For some reason, Siri acts quite differently on CarPlay than with my phone by itself disconnected from the car. I understand they wanted to limit what you could do for distractions but I am talking about core things that you need to do.

A few examples:

1) Siri through CarPlay gives you almost no time to begin saying what you want it to do. I clocked it at about 1 second. I can't even recall how many times I started talking and it cut me off and said it didn't get what I said because it stopped listening too quickly. This is far different than how long Siri gives you without CarPlay.

2) Siri was inconsistent in prompting for follow-up voice commands. In a few cases it did, but more often it would ask a question but not be listening for a response and you would have to hold the voice commands button for several seconds to follow-up even with a simple "yes." Very inefficient and, again, not how Siri without CarPlay handled similar prompts. Sometimes it it was even worse -- it would prompt for a question and provide the ability to tap the screen if you were willing to be distracted but not give the option to speak your answer even if you did use the voice command button -- triggering the button would cause Siri to cancel out of what you were doing and treat your prompt as a completely new action.

3) Siri was being picker than usual about what you said to get an action done. It took 3 tries to cancel navigation. The first two times it said "Okay" after my prompt as if it understood but went right on navigating. The third time it said the same "Okay" but actually worked.

4) Because of the lack of tight integration between Sensus and Siri, navigating between CarPlay apps can be distracting. There is a small virtual button on the center screen in the lower left that you have to tap to get back to the CarPlay home screen. So if you are in Maps you have to divert your eyes from the road, look for that small icon, tap it, see all the icons in the bottom pane, possibly swipe through multiple pages of apps to find the one you want, say a music streaming app, tap into that, then repeat the whole process in reverse to get back to Maps to resume your navigation.

Even weirder and more concerning, Siri flat out didn't seem to be accessing my phone's data correctly when connected to CarPlay. For example, I tried to text my wife, then my daughter and finally my son. All our in my Favorites and in every case I have clear phone and email addresses for them in my phone's contacts. But with my wife and daughter it would say, "I have two contacts for XXX and neither one has a phone number or email address." It would say the name correctly, so I know it got that right. But it was wrong about having two and it was flat out wrong that there were no phone or email addresses. Tried my son and it worked fine. After I disconnected from the car, I tried Siri the normal way to text my wife and it worked great -- so it specifically acted differently with CarPlay than without. And I had tried my wife 5 times with CarPlay so it wasn't a fluke. This particular quirk bugs me the most because if Siri is not going to correctly access my phone's contacts to let me text, email or phone people it's pretty close to useless and I doubt I will bother plugging in the phone much and living with all the other trade-offs.

The one thing that worked fine so far was accessing my music using Siri with CarPlay. This functioned like I have come to expect from Siri. I have a play list that's called my first initial's favorites. Instead I told Siri to play name name's favorites and it figured it out anyway. Very nice.

I only tried to route to one address so far with Apple Maps, so hardly a fair test. But it wasn't impressive navigating from the dealer to my home. It picked a poor route despite my encountering no traffic congestion when I ignored it and took the more logical route. And it kept stubbornly suggesting I make turns that would have taken me far out of my way even as I got within 2 miles of my home along an almost straight route along an uncrowded country road. If I had followed it, it would have doubled my distance to the destination. I haven't tried using Apple Maps with my phone to navigate home in a long time, so I am assuming it would have performed the same. So far Google and Waze seem to be the champs for understanding the roads in my immediate area.

Another interesting experience -- and one point I told Siri to do something and it basically froze for a full minute. It froze on the screen that was processing what I said. It wouldn't respond to any touch commands or further attempts to talk to it. Finally it said it had lost Internet connection and to try again later and unfroze. I checked my phone and have full bars LTE. I waited a minute and tried again and it worked.
 

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I figured "the best integration" simply meant you could use a physical button for Siri, but this sounds even worse than I expected.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I figured "the best integration" simply meant you could use a physical button for Siri, but this sounds even worse than I expected.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
You can use a physical button -- the same one you use for Sensus Voice Commands. But you have to hold it down longer. Also, I didn't try it yet but if you have "Hey, Siri" set on your phone's Settings you can just speak without using a button. But in the latter case you would want your music volume low to avoid confusion because it wouldn't atomically override it like it does with the button.
 

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Many thanks citivas for your great review.
Did your car already went through all the big Sensus updates or did you 'only' get Carplay?
 

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You can use a physical button -- the same one you use for Sensus Voice Commands. But you have to hold it down longer. Also, I didn't try it yet but if you have "Hey, Siri" set on your phone's Settings you can just speak without using a button. But in the latter case you would want your music volume low to avoid confusion because it wouldn't atomically override it like it does with the button.
Is it using the phone's internal mic to listen for the hot-phrase, or the car's? I imagine if someone is connecting their phone, they'll have it tucked inside the center console which would make the internal mic struggle to hear if the driver is trying to activate it.
 

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You can use a physical button -- the same one you use for Sensus Voice Commands. But you have to hold it down longer. Also, I didn't try it yet but if you have "Hey, Siri" set on your phone's Settings you can just speak without using a button. But in the latter case you would want your music volume low to avoid confusion because it wouldn't atomically override it like it does with the button.
Same question.

Did you get the Volvo update, and if you did what did you notice?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Yes, I got the Volvo update too and will evaluate and comment separately from this topic and to keep this one focused on CarPlay. Again, I only have about 30 minutes of driving and use since getting it and was almost exclusively focused on CarPlay. So I didn't test any voice commands with Sensus, didn't test Sensus navigation, didn't test the new Inrix real-time traffic quality, didn't use the native radio long enough to see if the bugs the radio had before are fixed, didn't test if the radio not shutting off issue is gone, etc. I will say I still got the problem I previously reported where it would tell me I had a "message" n the car status but when you get there, there is no message. I showed that to the tech at the dealership who played around and agreed it was boggling. I also had the tech try getting using the foot sensor to open the hatchback and he couldn't get it to work either, so we agreed he would replace the sensor on the next visit -- totally my fault that I forgot to list it when I brought it in this time -- but it confirms that there is something up with mine and not just how I use it.
 

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Same question.

Did you get the Volvo update, and if you did what did you notice?
You have to get the latest software update in order to have Apple CarPlay.
 

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For those who have Carplay now,

1) Would you say it is worth the ~$385 cost to have it added to Senus?
or
2) Having Sensus with no integration is more reliable and economical choice??
 

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If you use iphone I think it is no brainer. If you use Android then of course wait for Android Auto next year. :D

Sent from my SD4930UR using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
For those who have Carplay now,

1) Would you say it is worth the ~$385 cost to have it added to Senus?
or
2) Having Sensus with no integration is more reliable and economical choice??
1) Way too soon to call, for me at least. I want to spend a lot more time with it. If I was only judging by my first 30 minutes of use, then no I would not pay for it. But I suspect I'll get used to it and use it more. Also, I am not a big user of music streaming services -- my kids are though. If I was, then CarPlay has Spotify which could influence some people's decisions.

2) Can't argue with the economical, but having CarPlay doesn't make Sensus any less reliable because you can effectively disable CarPlay entirely at your discretion. For one, it's off unless you plug in your phone via the USB port. So if you don't do that it has no impact on Sensus. Second, you can always opt to have it treat the phone as an iPod if you plug into USB -- like Sensus does if you don't have CarPlay active. So definitely don't worry about it negatively impacting Sensus. It does affect the Sensus experience while you have it active and so far I am not thrilled with that. But, again, easy to turn off.
 

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Two questions- when you plug in your phone, is CarPlay automatically activated? And if CarPlay is on, is the nav tile on top automatically temporarily bricked?

I know there's a CarPlay switch on the phone so assume that can be turned off if I want to charge but not use CarPlay.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Two questions- when you plug in your phone, is CarPlay automatically activated? And if CarPlay is on, is the nav tile on top automatically temporarily bricked?

I know there's a CarPlay switch on the phone so assume that can be turned off if I want to charge but not use CarPlay.
1) I plan to test this since it behaves differently the first tie and I have only done it once. The first time you had to accept the terms and conditions, etc., and it did kick in automatically. But it gave you a choice to use the phone as CarPlay or just as an iPod. It also warned it was deactivating Bluetooth and asked for permission to proceed. It was several screens of stuff. In general though, it adds an app icon to the third screen on your Sensus interface. If you do something else that uses the 4th pane -- like using a Sensus app or checking your car status or driving stats, it replaces CarPlay and you have to go back and select it from the apps page.

2) It did not deactivate the navigation pane. It said routing was being handled by CarPlay but you could still go into the Sensus navigation while Apple Maps was active and it still worked. What I did not try and am curious to, is trying to set a destination to route in Sensus while Apples Maps is active. It probably should prevent that but haven't tried it. I also didn't notice whether it said routing was being handled by CarPlay before I starting using Apple Maps. Hopefully it doesn't say that until you open Maps, but I need to test that too. A lot still to test...
 

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1) I plan to test this since it behaves differently the first tie and I have only done it once. The first time you had to accept the terms and conditions, etc., and it did kick in automatically. But it gave you a choice to use the phone as CarPlay or just as an iPod. It also warned it was deactivating Bluetooth and asked for permission to proceed. It was several screens of stuff. In general though, it adds an app icon to the third screen on your Sensus interface. If you do something else that uses the 4th pane -- like using a Sensus app or checking your car status or driving stats, it replaces CarPlay and you have to go back and select it from the apps page.

2) It did not deactivate the navigation pane. It said routing was being handled by CarPlay but you could still go into the Sensus navigation while Apple Maps was active and it still worked. What I did not try and am curious to, is trying to set a destination to route in Sensus while Apples Maps is active. It probably should prevent that but haven't tried it. I also didn't notice whether it said routing was being handled by CarPlay before I starting using Apple Maps. Hopefully it doesn't say that until you open Maps, but I need to test that too. A lot still to test...
So upon initial activation it warns you that Bluetooth is being disabled: Does that continue to be the case until you de-select?
In other words even if you don't connect your iPhone via USB does it automatically default back to Bluetooth?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
So upon initial activation it warns you that Bluetooth is being disabled: Does that continue to be the case until you de-select?
In other words even if you don't connect your iPhone via USB does it automatically default back to Bluetooth?
Tried that just now. Good news. When I disconnected the phone from the USB cable it immediately activated the phone by Bluetooth again. When I went to Media and tried music from Bluetooth. It took it about 15 seconds to connect but once it did, it picked right up where CarPlay left off with my playlist.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
1) I plan to test this since it behaves differently the first tie and I have only done it once. The first time you had to accept the terms and conditions, etc., and it did kick in automatically. But it gave you a choice to use the phone as CarPlay or just as an iPod. It also warned it was deactivating Bluetooth and asked for permission to proceed. It was several screens of stuff. In general though, it adds an app icon to the third screen on your Sensus interface. If you do something else that uses the 4th pane -- like using a Sensus app or checking your car status or driving stats, it replaces CarPlay and you have to go back and select it from the apps page.

2) It did not deactivate the navigation pane. It said routing was being handled by CarPlay but you could still go into the Sensus navigation while Apple Maps was active and it still worked. What I did not try and am curious to, is trying to set a destination to route in Sensus while Apples Maps is active. It probably should prevent that but haven't tried it. I also didn't notice whether it said routing was being handled by CarPlay before I starting using Apple Maps. Hopefully it doesn't say that until you open Maps, but I need to test that too. A lot still to test...
A few follow-ups having tried this just now.

1) On re-use, it didn't have to go through any screens after connecting the phone by USB. It assumed CarPlay. There is an option in the settings to change back to iPod by default if you want to. The Phone pane automatically switched to CarPlay and if you selected it, all the functionality was greyed out. The one thing I didn't like is it does not automatically put CarPlay in the fourth pane of your screen. So to actually do anything after plugging it in, I still had to manually go to the apps page and select CarPlay (right below the Car Status icon) before it would appear in the fourth pane and be controllable.

2) I messed around with trying to use the Nav and CarPlay maps. Basically both work and will visually show you your progress in real-time but only one can navigate at a time. So if you are using CarPlay, you can click into Sensus nav no problem. And it will let you setup a new route. But the moment you "start navigating" it kills whatever it was doing in Apple Maps. Same happens in reverse.
 

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When your iPhone is connected via the USB port and CarPlay is active, are you limited strictly to "CarPlay" compatible apps? For example, what if you have Rhapsody or some other music streaming app installed on your phone? Would you have to disconnect your phone from the USB port in order to listen to them?
 

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It is still hard for me to understand reading this Board whether the Volvo, not Car Play, update has had any positive impact on the list of previously enumerated issues, although it seems to have created some problems. I would like to better understand that.

I am sure everyone knows that the United States, at least, is an Android (52.4% OEM market share) and not an Apple (42.6% OEM market share) country, so Car Play doesn't mean anything for a majority of users, and certainly not for me. So it's just the Volvo update that I am interested in.
 
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