Apple has a big update to CarPlay slated for sometime later this year, but in the meantime, the tech giant has begun working with partners to support a new feature that will let users pay for gas directly inside the company's infotainment platform.
While the ability to purchase fuel using CarPlay was first revealed during developer sessions at WWDC earlier this month, it didn't get a ton of attention until recently when energy company HF Sinclair announced plans to implement the feature at its gas stations in the U.S.
HF Sinclair told Reuters that more specific details will be released in the coming months, but the basic idea is that instead of needing to swipe your credit card at the pump, users will be able to buy gas via an app in CarPlay. However, there will be some initial setup, as you'll need to download the app and enter your payment info first. Once everything is set up, you'll be able to select a specific pump from your navigation screen and refuel without needing to pull out your wallet.
Ahead of a major update to CarPlay, Apple's push to support buying gas digitally comes amidst larger efforts to integrate more third-party services as the company looks to expand the role of its automotive platform. In a statement given to Reuters, Asymco analyst Horace Dedie said given the reach of CarPlay, this strategy could have an even greater impact than Apple's long-rumored efforts to design its own EV.
“Forget about Apple Car - Apple CarPlay is a bigger deal,” Dediu said. “It’s very likely to scale to millions and millions of cars, if not hundreds of millions.” However, with Google also eying a number of upgrades to Android Auto, it appears the competition among in-car infotainment systems is just beginning to heat up.