Jaguar Land Rover is giving its customers a free Apple CarPlay
It’s rare for luxury car makers to give owners to a free equipment upgrade but Jaguar Land Rover is about to retrofit Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to thousands of its cars.
Within weeks the British brands will begin updating software systems on late-model cars to allow smartphone mirroring, which gives access to basic apps on the centre screen.
It’s a long overdue inclusion; most car makers have had Apple CarPlay and Android Auto available for many years.
The updates will be offered to owners of Land Rovers and Jaguars from 2016, 2017 and 2018 that were fitted with the optional InControl Touch Pro infotainment tech.
“Every single car we ever built with InControl Touch Pro, we have re-engineered all of the software in that whole system and we’ve made it backwardly compatible,” said Land Rover engineering director Nick Rogers recently. “We’re actually going to offer every single customer … to come back to the dealership, have an update.”
While the service will require owners to come back to dealerships and have a memory stick temporarily plugged into the USB to flash the car’s computer with new software, there will be no charge to owners.
A Jaguar Land Rover Australia spokesman confirmed updates were expected to be rolled out before the end of 2019.
While they won’t be available to all cars — it requires the Pro version of InControl Touch, as well as a USB port — many owners paid extra to have those features included.
Part of the software upgrade will also enable over-the-air updates, which were pioneered by Tesla but are now being adopted by mainstream car makers.
These updates, which can fix bugs, improve functionality and add features, are carried out when the car is within Wi-Fi range or by using an onboard mobile phone SIM card.
They allow an often slow-moving automotive industry catch up to the faster pace of technology development.
Most carmakers have had free smartphone mirroring for a while but there are still some who don’t.
BMW charges an annual subscription for Apple CarPlay and doesn’t offer Android Auto.
Mazda charges about $500 to retrofit the tech.
Originally published as Luxury brand gives owners a rare freebie