Tesla, Apple a clear match, but products oddly don’t work well together

Apple Tesla have a lot in com­mon, but there’s much to be desired — oddly enough — when it comes to how their products work together.

Both companies are known for design, advanced technology a controlling approach to their ecosystems. Tesla’s cars use a giant iPad-like screen instead of physical controls, customers can use a smartphone as their key. It’s also steadily moving toward autonomous driving. That’s led people to call Tesla the Apple of carmakers. Elon Musk even tried to sell Tesla to Apple, consumers frequently say that a Tesla is an “iPhone on wheels.” But for Apple users, the experience of owning a Tesla can be frustrating.

Tesla’s iPhone app is certainly capable, allowing users to remotely unlock their car, control the climate manage charging. The ability to use your iPhone as your car key is also nifty. But once you’re in the car — where you truly want integration — the compatibility mostly disap­pears. If you’re an Apple fan, chances are you’re familiar with CarPlay subscribe to Apple Music. If you also own a Tesla, you know that your car supports neither feature.

You can’t access Apple Music through a dedicated app in a Tesla — even though that’s offered for Spotify. Instead, you have to stream directly over Bluetooth. While you can control volume skip tracks, you can’t easily access your entire library or find playlists the way you can with other cars. The most you can get is a list of songs from the current playlist or album.

It appears at least some engineers inside Tesla were aiming to get Apple Music support up running. In December, references of support for Apple Music briefly appeared in Tesla’s in-car software. But Apple Tesla don’t yet have traction on actually launching the option. CarPlay (Android Auto for that matter) is also nowhere to be found. On its website, Apple touts that CarPlay is available in over 600 mod­els, including those from “every major automobile manufacturer.” Obviously that’s not true: At any given time, either the Tesla Model Y or the Model 3 is the best-selling electric car.

ALSO READ: Tesla is worth $3,000 a share ‘if they execute really well’: Musk

The lack of Apple Music CarPlay support in Teslas comes down to decisions from the carmaker rather than Apple. Teslas are the de facto car of Apple’s office parking lots (outside of the executive section), Apple employees would love nothing more than to get their Apple Music CarPlay fix.

Apple has been trying to get its services on any device or in any car that will have them, Tesla integration would be a clear win for Cupertino. Apple Music is already built into the Porsche Taycan, as well as Android, smart TVs, speakers from Google, Amazon Sonos.

In addition to CarPlay Apple Music support, there are other areas where the two companies could align. Tesla could choose to support Apple services like TV+ (Tesla already offers Netflix) Apple Podcasts. Apple, on the other hand, could offer Tesla deeper integration with Apple Maps, better highlighting Tesla’s network of chargers. The biggest barrier to an Apple Tesla accord is probably Musk himself. In 2015, amid Apple’s first attempt to build a car, Musk said that Apple is the graveyard for ex-Tesla staffers.

There is clearly some strain between the two companies. But for now, the main people losing out are consumers.

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