The 2019 Toyota Avalon, uncloaked at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show, will include Apple's CarPlay among its high-tech features. Lexus models will get the same treatment.

Toyota announced that vehicle models with Entune 3.0 and Enform 2.0 entertainment platforms will fully support Apple CarPlay use in the United States. Entune is found on select Toyota cars, while Enform is for Lexus models. The Japanese carmaker indicated that the ability to integrate with iPhones and iPads will be reserved for Toyota-assembled vehicles from 2019 and onward.

"Apple CarPlay is a standard on all grades," Toyota said in a press release.

Likewise, Toyota confirmed to MacRumors that CarPlay will not be found on Toyota and Lexus models that were manufactured and delivered before 2019. For instance, all 2018 Toyota cars that received Entune 3.0 as part of the original package will not receive CarPlay as a future firmware upgrade.

CarPlay Implementation

The CarPlay treat will first arrive on the 2019 Avalon, on which a 9-inch capacitive touchscreen will serve as the monitor and control panel. As mentioned, all Avalon variants will benefit from the same feature that will allow car owners to make use of apps on their iOS devices to control specific vehicle functionalities.

However, Toyota made clear that CarPlay on Lexus and Toyota cars cannot be used wirelessly. Users will need to hook up an iPhone, for instance, to Entune or Enform using a USB connector. It's unclear if hardware and software upgrades in the future will give car owners wireless access to CarPlay.

Toyota Late In The Game

The 2019 Avalon and Lexus models boasting of Apple CarPlay support represents Toyota's baby steps into adopting smart car features that involve third-party systems provided by Apple, Amazon, or Google. Prior to the CarPlay integration on the upcoming Avalon, Toyota has insisted on using its own technology for similar functionalities.

There was no mention on its press release why the sudden change of heart for Toyota, but it is possible the company realized that it's already lagging behind. For example, Honda and Volkswagen vehicles currently sold in the United States came stuffed with Android Auto and CarPlay functionalities. Other brands such as Ford have also started offering support for Amazon Alexa as built-in car features.

Essentially, rival cars are fast becoming smartphone-friendly, thus boosting their smart features, while Toyota is reduced to playing catch up. Supporting CarPlay on the 2019 Avalon and Lexus is Toyota looking to slug it out with chief rivals in equal terms.

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