Ford announced Monday that its new SYNC 3 infotainment platform will support Apple CarPlay and Android Auto on all SYNC-equipped 2017 model year vehicles in North America, which will begin rolling out to dealers in the middle of calendar year 2016. The automaker confirmed that the 2017 Escape will be the first model available with the new technology.
An original partner of Apple's CarPlay initiative, Ford has yet to launch a shipping vehicle featuring the technology, instead offering partial support for iOS devices such as Bluetooth and Siri Eyes-Free in its existing SYNC platform.
CarPlay has yet to reach broad adoption, however, with only select vehicles from Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Volkswagen, and Volvo supporting the feature. A large number of additional automakers have publicly pledged support and revealed future plans, but Ford's announcement Monday is the most ambitious step yet for the United States' second-largest automaker.
CarPlay allows users to link their compatible iPhone (iPhone 5 or newer) to their vehicle's infotainment center, providing direct access and control of Music playlists, Apple Maps directions, iMessages, Siri, and phone calls. In addition, compatible iOS apps can also be controlled via the CarPlay interface.
While the initial rollout of CarPlay support will be limited to 2017 vehicles equipped with SYNC 3, Ford announced that it will also make CarPlay and Android Auto available on existing 2016 SYNC 3-equipped models via a software upgrade "later in the year."