Apple Unveils CarPlay

03/05/2014 8:00 am EST


CarPlay was just unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show; the new system will allow users to access iPhone services, explains Geoffrey Seiler, editor of

The system, developed by Apple (AAPL), will work with iPhone 5 models and above, and allow users to access iPhone services such as Siri search, maps, hands-free calling and messaging, via voice, touch screen, or knob control.

It will also work with iTunes and iTunes Radio, as well as third-party music apps including Spotify, Beats Radio, iHeartRadio, and Stitcher.

Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz, and Volvo will begin shipping vehicles with the service this week. Meanwhile, Honda, Hyundai, and Jaguar will have the system available later this year. BMW, Chevrolet, Ford, Kia, Land Rover, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Opel, Peugeot-Citroen, Subaru, Suzuki, and Toyota have also committed to the system.

"We built this for our customers, for our users," Greg Joswiak, vice president of iPhone, told CNBC. "We don't want their great experiences with their iPhone to end at the moment they get into the car. We want it to get better and better." Gartner estimates that carmakers could charge up to $1,000 for the system.

There were approximately 83.5 million new cars sold globally last year, including 15.6 million in the US.

While we would imagine that the system will be an option and not standard for most models, getting iOS entrenched into the new car market would be a big positive for Apple. It would increase iOS usage, and also, likely help the company improve its map function.

While Google (GOOG) has plans to follow suit with an Android-based system, given the price tag, we'd surmise that the system will appeal to more affluent users that are much more likely to own an iPhone.

Overall, we continue to think that Apple is a great company, with a strong brand and solid growth prospects, and that is materially undervalued.

For Apple's stock to get out of the doldrums, however, it is likely going to have to come up with a successful device in a new category, whether that is wearable tech, an iTV, mobile payments, or something else.

While this would increase the top and bottom lines, even more importantly, it would likely give investors more confidence that Apple can still innovate after Steve Jobs. We continue to rate Apple a "Strong Buy" with a $700 target.

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