Will Apple’s Pandora Diss Turn CarPlay Into Another Google Maps?

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Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) new service that allows your iPhone to take over the in-car audio system and in-dash screen display won't include popular streaming music service Pandora (NYSE: P  ) or Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL  ) Maps.

Not including these services makes business sense for Apple as the company is trying to compete with Pandora through its iTunes Radio and Google is planning a rival in-car product. But the moves are unlikely to be well-received by Apple's customers.

What is Apple's CarPlay?

CarPlay, which Apple introduced March 3, is an attempt to more fully integrate iPhones with the native entertainment system/in-dash screen in a variety of vehicles that its partners will soon be offering. The company described the service as follows in a launch press release.

CarPlay gives iPhone users an incredibly intuitive way to make calls, use Maps, listen to music, and access messages with just a word or a touch. Users can easily control CarPlay from the car's native interface or just push-and-hold the voice control button on the steering wheel to activate Siri without distraction. Vehicles from Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz, and Volvo will premiere CarPlay to their drivers this week, while additional auto manufacturers bringing CarPlay to their drivers down the road include BMW Group, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai Motor Company, Jaguar Land Rover, Kia Motors, Mitsubishi Motors, Nissan Motor Company, PSA Peugeot Citroën, Subaru, Suzuki, and Toyota Motor Corp.

CarPlay will not work with just any app that can be installed on an iPhone. Instead Apple will be working with specific partners along with offering its own services. These partners include a number of music services -- Spotify and iHeartRadio -- but not Pandora. Similarly Apple Maps will be offered but Google Maps won't.

How bad is not having Google Maps for Apple fans?

When Apple dropped Google Maps from its new iPhone operating system in 2012, it caused such a fury that the company had to issue an apology and explain to customers how to add other map services.

"While we're improving Maps, you can try alternatives by downloading map apps from the App Store like Bing, MapQuest, and Waze, or use Google or Nokia maps by going to their websites and creating an icon on your home screen to their web app," Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote in an open letter to Apple customers.

The lack of Google Maps in CarPlay may not be as big a deal now, however, as Apple has greatly improved its own Maps app.

"Apple Maps has thankfully improved dramatically since its disastrous launch. In my experience it's nearly on par with Google Maps. It just lacks the web integration and extra data available on Google Maps like the destination's StreetView along with some pertinent review data," wrote TechCrunch's Matt Burns.

Will Pandora lovers revolt?

Pandora reports listener hours rather than user numbers, and in 2013 "total listener hours grew 23% to 16.7 billion for the calendar year of 2013, compared to 13.51 billion for the calendar year of 2012," the company said. Pandora does not report how many users it has on iPhones, but the company's app ranked 19 in the iPhones app store as of March 5, and was the top of the music chart.

Apple is likely excluding Pandora as a way to push its own similar iTunes Radio service. That may anger some Pandora fans, but it's not as critical a problem as having faulty maps. Not being able to use Pandora through CarPlay won't get you lost or point your car toward a river.

Pandora had a measured response to being left out as the company clearly needs to stay on Apple's good side.

"At this time, Pandora is not integrated with Apple CarPlay. As a first mover in the auto space, we continue to broaden our relationships with OEMs while also exploring other opportunities to expand our presence in the car. Apple has been and continues to be a valued partner," the company said in a statement sent to

Apple tends to get what it wants

Other than its 2012 misstep and apology over Google Maps, Apple has generally been able to get what it wants and push other companies around. The company has dictated terms with the music industry with the iTunes store, has steadfastly kept Adobe (NASDAQ: ADBE  ) Flash off its products, and has maintained very strict standards in its app store. In this case, as long as Apple's Map app works, it seems unlikely Google devotees will grouse too much.

Pandora fans might be a different story as there is a time investment put into building a Pandora "radio station." Still it seems unlikely that not being able to use Pandora in the most convenient way possible will cause any sort of mass revolt or force Apple to change its mind. Some Pandora fans will likely use one of the CarPlay offerings and some will choose to use Pandora but not through CarPlay.

Leaving Google Maps and Pandora out of CarPlay is a business decision where Apple's customer are inconvenienced, but probably not enough to make them protest or decide to switch away from the iPhone.

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Read/Post Comments (5) | Recommend This Article (4)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On March 07, 2014, at 5:52 PM, marv08 wrote:

    I have no idea, if any of these things will be coming to CarPlay in the future and I have no idea who is already working on CarPlay enabled apps and just did not make the launch date... still:

    1. This is version one of CarPlay. No Apple product has ever been complete from the beginning. The first iPhone had no apps, no copy and paste, no MMS, heck, not even 3G. Assuming that anything is based on a business decision or written in stone forever, is pure speculation. Until you at least hear from any Pandora or Google rep that their apps have been actively denied by Apple that is.

    2. Spotify and iHeart Radio ARE services competing with Apple's iTunes. If they wanted to protect their revenue here, they would not allow those either. Apple allows all competition on Macs and iOS, everything from Google, Amazon etc. is available. There is no reason to believe that Apple will treat the car differently, as Apple is making nearly all of its profits by selling hardware; they don't really care if you use iTunes or Spotify, as long as you buy an iPhone.

    3. CarPlay is not replacing the car's built-in operating and entertainment/navigation systems. It is just an additional interface to bring iPhone contents to existing screens. If Google wants to bring their own UX and design ideas to the same screen, they are free to do the same (and actually they are doing just that with e.g. Audi). The user can only benefit from both, as all existing entertainment systems, from Ford's Sync to BMW's iDrive to specialised and expensive packages offered by Becker et al are an effing disaster with GUI sins from the 1990s.

  • Report this Comment On March 07, 2014, at 10:07 PM, NotTellinYou wrote:

    Do you think there is ANY chance it's Pandora that decided not to play? Your rational is that Apple left Pandora out to promote their own service yet they brought in two other rivals?

    As for Google maps...Google refused to update Google Maps for iOS and kept pumping up the Android maps. Worse Apple's iOS was hostage to Google's maps much like Apple was with IE in the old days and drove it to create Safari so not to mortgage the Mac OS future on the internet to Microsoft.

    What bothers me is writers like this who automatically see this as an APPLE issue and not a BUSINESS issue. Where you have two companies that act in their best interests for a number of reasons many of which are not known or apparent to people that write about business.

  • Report this Comment On March 07, 2014, at 10:43 PM, HiramWalker wrote:

    Facts skewed by a negative bias. The comments to these articles often contain the facts that were omitted to promote a bias. Thank you, informed commenters. No thanks, Mötley Fool.

  • Report this Comment On March 08, 2014, at 9:52 PM, GeeDeezy wrote:

    Apple's Maps took a year just to reach usability. iTunes Radio is at least two years behind Pandora in quality of experience. I understand Apple wanting to push users into its eco system, but if they keep forcing mediocrity on them, sooner or later they will have had enough.

  • Report this Comment On March 10, 2014, at 11:26 AM, Jjkiam wrote:

    This bias about Apple apps mediocrity is very telling in this article. Yes Apple did release a beta version of its maps and apologized for it but that was Sooo 2012. Can't this author come up with anything relevant like the truth that the maps app has improved significantly and has some very good intuitive point to point directions functionality now. Yes Google maps,is still filled with more location detail. But as a navigation tool I find Apple maps more than sufficient ! Pandora has refined its recommendations very effectively but Apple also has a very enjoyable music streaming service that also can access your own downloads which gives it more detail to respond over time.'they also have deals to actually certain artists music that Pandora does not like type in Joni Mitchell and see what happens on Pandora

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Daniel B. Kline

Daniel B. Kline is an accomplished writer and editor who has worked for the Microsoft's Finance app and The Boston Globe, where he wrote for the paper and ran the business desk. His latest book "Worst Ideas Ever" (Skyhorse) can be purchased at bookstores everywhere.

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