As of 2018, it was estimated that over 95% of Americans own a cellphone, with around 77% being smartphones. One might argue that this prevalence introduces some concern over smartphone dependency, but most of us are too busy enjoying the fact that our smartphones sync with almost everything we do, to complain.
And most automakers were quick to jump upon this, ensuring that the infotainment systems in their vehicles were fully connective. There have been legislative ultimatums, of course, ensuring that handsfree capabilities were being introduced across the board; but phone streaming and music streaming aren’t tackled within the same steps. Enter Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. And over the last three-to-five years, the vast majority of automakers have been successful in integrating compatibility with both services…most, but not all.
What’s surprising is that such mainstream integration seems more prevalent among more accessibly-priced automakers (take Chevy, for example) while certain high-end automakers have considered it less of a priority. Enter Jaguar Land Rover who, from 2013-2017 have sold over half-a-million vehicles in the US alone. We won’t even touch the global numbers, but it’s worth pointing out that most regions have reported an average increase (in terms of units sold) of around 53% over that time period. Such staggering statistics speak to the relevance of the respective brands.
And yet, it was only in recent weeks that Jaguar Land Rover acknowledged that it would be incorporating both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto into all 2019 models equipped with either touch Pro Duo or InControl Touch Pro infotainment systems. The connectivity package upgrade is expected to start around $280, with retroactive updates to be made available for older models as well. And with the inclusion of third-party mapping services in Carplay’s iOS 12, the change is evolving more than just music streaming.
But while we’re sure this is welcome update among…well, just about everyone interested in a Land Rover or Jaguar…it’s hard not to recognize that it feels like they’re a bit late to the party. One might argue that the iconic nature of the brand allows them a degree of aloofness, as opposed to brands who strive to be seen as hungry innovators. Then again, we can refer back to the likes of Ford and Chevy, who have made no attempts to use their longevity as an excuse.
In the long run, it’s neither here nor there. Jaguar Land Rover stands confidently upon the choices they’ve made since day one, and the numbers don’t lie. The absence of smartphone integration has done nothing to slow their sales on a global scale. That said, welcome to the party! Even if the decision was long overdue, it was a smart one (no pun intended).
And for and Jaguar Land Rover enthusiasts who might be unfamiliar with either service, here’s a walkthrough in terms of each, explaining initial connection and interface. Personal experiences might differ slightly, but it’s a great place to start.