​Apple's CarPlay gets wireless support with iOS 8.3

Vehicle owners with CarPlay installed will soon be able to connect their phones to the platform without the need for cables.

Apple is preparing an iOS update that will allow iPhones to connect wirelessly to cars equipped with a CarPlay-compatible dash display.

Apple yesterday pushed out the first beta of iOS 8.3 to developers, revealing its plan to add Wireless CarPlay support. Developers who have access to the beta shared the feature with some publications.

Given iOS 8.2 is still in a later beta stage and due for release alongside the Apple Watch, iOS 8.3 won't be arriving on handsets for some months yet. However, the new wireless feature's eventual arrival will be welcome news for anyone that owns a vehicle with CarPlay installed or, potentially people who've bought an aftermarket CarPlay compatible unit from Pioneer.

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Currently, an iPhone needs to be connected to the car via a Lightning cable, which then brings up Apple's custom dash display. The display can be controlled either using the touch panel or by voice control through Siri.

Whether iPhone owners can wirelessly connect to CarPlay, however, will depend on whether their vehicle manufacturer supports the feature: Volvo for example has previously said it is working on a wireless connection.

The iOS 8.3 update also looks set to bring Apple Pay to China through Union Pay, marking an expansion of the service outside of the US, and adds new emoji icons.

iOS 8.2, the update that should be rolling out to users in coming weeks, prepares iPhones for the release of Apple Watch. Apple's wrist wearable will connect to iPhones using Bluetooth, while a dedicated iOS app will allow users to configure the Watch. During the company's last quarterly earnings update, Apple CEO Tim Cook confirmed that Apple Watch is on track to ship in April in the US.

Separately, on Monday Apple released version 1.2 of Swift, its new coding language for iOS and OS X.

The updated version of Swift shipped with Xcode 6.3 beta, which also includes SDKs for iOS 8.3 and OS X versions 10.9 and 10.19, as well as a Swift migrator to move source code from the prior version of Swift. The Swift update contains a number of language updates and efficiency enhancements, such as the removal of default re-compiling of source files that haven't changed.

Swift has quickly become one of the most widely used programming languages since its release last September. While well behind Java and JavaScript, it became the 22nd most widely used language within months compared to other languages, which take years to gain adoption.

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