Ford brings Android Auto and Apple CarPlay to its 2016 fleet

Enlarge Image This is Ford's first Wi Fi OTA update. Fancy!                  Ford

Enlarge Image This is Ford's first Wi Fi OTA update. Fancy! Ford

For a while now, Ford has promised that it would bring Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to Sync 3 users in 2016-model-year vehicles. You can download the Sync 3 update to a thumb drive and bring it out to your vehicle.

Needless to say, having access to Android Auto and Apple CarPlay makes the infotainment system on Ford cars much more modern, streamlined and comfortable to use. The massive update will be available for some 800,000 vehicles.

"Our SYNC 3 software platform was created to be easy to update so we can get our customers the latest and greatest features, functionally and security enhancements", said Don Butler, executive director, Ford Connected Vehicle and Services. Customers will be able to update their own cars using a USB drive or a Wi-Fi connection, or they can take their cars into the dealership to have the update performed.

Retroactively offering this kind of thing to auto owners is a definite change in tone for auto makers, since they typically use these kinds of things as incentives to get people interested in vehicle model updates. Customers with Wi-Fi-enabled vehicles and a Wi-Fi network can set up their vehicle to receive the update automatically. With a simplified interface, large touch targets, Google voice search and easy-to-use voice controls, Android Auto is created to minimize distraction while on the road. Users can control Apple CarPlay through the in-vehicle display or via Siri voice control.

The OTA update option is also a big step for Ford - it's the company's first for software, and it's one of the major reasons that Ford recently hired around 400 new mobile smartphone engineers, the company tells me.

Even with a dealer visit and hardware upgrade for CarPlay, this sounds like a worthwhile thing for 2016 vehicle owners to do.