Tesla's big software update arrives without new AutoPilot features

Elon Musk said Navigate on Autopilot needs 'a few more weeks of validation.'

Tesla is rolling out a much-anticipated software update to every "Model S, Model X and Model 3 ever built" that will everything from Atari games hidden as Easter Eggs to 360-degree surround camera views, even as some driving assistance features are on hold.

There's a new app launcher, and users can switch between apps by swiping up or down. Once you have this update (downloaded via WiFi, you can schedule it for convenience), you'll be able to trigger software updates remotely via the app, send navigations to the car's software from your phone's mapping apps, and let passengers control media playback using their phones.

For cars with newer Hardware 2.5 built-in, they can enable dashcam recordings from the car's front-facing camera, saved to a flash drive that you plug into the car's USB port. Pressing an icon will save a 10 minute clip, while holding it down pauses recording. The update also enables all eight cameras on ever Model S, X and 3, providing a surround visualization of nearby cars, as well as adding information from the cameras to input from ultrasonic sensors for the blindspot monitoring system.

Climate controls have been tweaked as well, so that you can turn them on or off without opening the full menu, as well as adjusting rear seat heaters, steering wheel heater, and wiper heater all in one place (Model S and Model X). In your Model 3, swiping left or right on the setting can change the temperature, and there's a "3D representation" of cabin airflow.

Now, about that full self-driving system that has been promised and is in beta testing -- it's still in testing. Upgrades for the Autopilot driving assist are rolling out "in the coming months," including Navigate on Autopilot. That feature is for use on highways only to perform "active guidance" through suggested lane changes, switching highways and taking exits. Before the car will change lanes, the driver confirms it by tapping the turn signal or cruise control stalk. According to Tesla, it's launching in "Shadow mode" with this update to log performance, before a beta test in the US that brings it closer to Musk's promise of a car that can drive coast-to-coast by itself.

There are a few other features listed in the notes, like "distance aware acceleration" and, on the Model 3, three new apps: Calendar, Energy and Web Browser. Version 9 is rolling out in the US & Canada now, with other countries to follow "soon."