German carmaker Porsche is rolling out the latest generation of its Porsche Communication System (PCM 4), which is good news for iPhone users - but not so good for those that prefer the Android mobile phone platform.
Global Research conducted by Porsche indicates that more than 70 per cent of Porsche buyers favour the iPhone over Android handsets, fuelling the decision by Porsche to offer Apple CarPlay exclusively in their vehicles.
Apple CarPlay is a smartphone integration system that lets owners of iPhones from generation 5 onwards with iOS 8.4 and above, use various apps on-board for the first time.
Much like an iPhone, CarPlay uses a simple organisational structure that displays its apps as large icons on a scrollable home screen. Navigation around the system is never more than one or two steps away, and there are no dropdown menus or complex lists to sort through.
Android Auto, which competes head-to-head with CarPlay, tends to be less intuitive, where various apps are listed under one icon, which when tapped twice, displays a list of cards - at least that’s the process with the audio functionality.
Mind, Porsche’s Electronics manager for the new 911 product line, Christian Fuchs, hasn’t ruled out support for Android users in the future. But, for now, the company intends to continue developing its partnership with Apple.
“Of course Android users can still connect via Bluetooth and they can even use our own apps, but with so few Porsche buyers choosing Android phones, we have to focus on the larger customer group”, he told CarAdvice.
At the centre of the PCM system is a seven-inch touchscreen with multiple controls, which can be operated with fingertip commands, similar to that for a smartphone. The new system also recognises short and long taps, as well as swiping, scrolling, pinching and rotating. Along with voice commands, it’s proactive. The moment your hand gets close to the screen, the system switches from overview to operating mode.
Another key feature of the system is the Porsche Connect app, which can call up on-line navigation, addresses, images with GPS co-ordinates and Google search results.
Drivers can even monitor the status of their cars remotely. The Porsche Car Connect app (for Apple and Android phones) shows the location of the vehicle, locks the doors and illustrates the fuel level.
Safety-wise, Car Connect can also call for assistance if a breakdown or accident occurs. The system can also alert the driver during an attempted theft as well as the emergency call centre.
Unfortunately, Porsche Australia customers will need to wait until 2017/18 for the Connect apps, when a new LTE telephone module that enables a Wi-Fi connection is certified for this market.
Stay tuned for our launch review of the new 911 Turbo and Turbo S models from the International launch at the Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit in Johannesburg, South Africa later this week.