Ford C-Max SYNC Owners with iPhones Get Apple Siri Eyes-Free

On December 3rd, Ford announced that iPhone users with SYNC equipped vehicles dating all the way back to the 2011 model year will get Apple Siri-Eyes-Free capability.  Siri Eyes-Free allows drivers to activate Siri with a long press of the voice recognition button on the steering wheel, similar activating Siri on an iPhone.  The simple, downloadable update will be available through http://owner.ford.com/.  I looked today (4th) and didn’t see the update at the website yet for my 2013 Ford C-Max Energi.

Infotainment in the Ford C-Max; The next Sync with MyFord Touch

Over the past couple weeks, there have been many news and rumor articles that will affect future and perhaps current owners of Ford vehicles with MyFord Touch and older Sync infotainment systems.  Sync is the in-vehicle communications and entertainment system developed by Ford that uses the Windows Embedded Automotive operating system designed by Microsoft.  Sync with MyFord Touch is the second-generation infotainment system used in more recent vehicles.  The unreliability of MyFord Touch/Sync has been cited by J.D.Powers & Associates as the primary factor contributing to a decline in Ford’s reliability standing for new car purchasers.  Ford has more than 10 million vehicles that include Sync.  The current version of MyFord Touch is 3.6.2, which was released in August 2013.  I’ve been using it since I purchased my own Ford C-Max Energi the same month.  I haven’t had problems with MyFord Touch as others have reported.

On February 24th, Bloomberg reported that Ford will base the next-generation Sync software on Blackberrry’s QNX and no longer use Microsoft’s Windows Embedded Automotive operating system.  The QNX CAR application platform is running in over 20 million vehicles as of mid-2011.  According to Bloomberg, the switch to QNX will improve flexibility and speed of Ford Sync while decreasing the cost.  An article in Fortune reported, “Ask analysts what reputation QNX carries, and you’ll get phrases like ‘rock solid’ or ‘a solution for things that can’t crash’…”  According to the Detroit News, a source with a knowledge of the plans to switch to QNX said, “the automaker could easily update the software of those vehicles already equipped with Sync to the BlackBerry software [QNX].”

According to Apple’s March 3rd press release, CarPlay, “the smarter, safer and more fun way to use iPhone in the car”, will be included by Ford in vehicles.  Apple said that many other makers, including Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, BMW, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover, Kia, Mitsubishi, Nissan Peugeot, Subaru, Suzuki, and Toyota will include CarPlay in vehicles.  For more information on CarPlay, see this description at the Apple Website or read the description below from the press release.  CarPlay requires a Lightening-enabled iPhone running iOS 7 – the 5s, 5c and 5 are the only iPhones meeting both requirements.  An article in N4bb.com states that CarPlay could become the biggest competitor to QNX CAR.  It suggests that CarPlay runs on top of the QNX real-time operating system kernel.  They quote Paul Leroux of QNX, “Connectivity to smartphones and other mobile devices is a key strength of QNX Software Systems’ platform for car infotainment systems, and many automakers and tier one automotive suppliers use our platform to implement smartphone/head-unit integration in their vehicles. We have a long-standing partnership with Apple to ensure high-quality connectivity with their devices, and this partnership extends to support for Apple CarPlay.”

Apple’s description of CarPlay: “Once iPhone is connected to a vehicle with CarPlay integration, Siri helps you easily access your contacts, make calls, return missed calls or listen to voicemails. When incoming messages or notifications arrive, Siri provides an eyes-free experience by responding to requests through voice commands, by reading drivers’ messages and letting them dictate responses or simply make a call.  CarPlay makes driving directions more intuitive by working with Maps to anticipate destinations based on recent trips via contacts, emails or texts, and provides routing instructions, traffic conditions and ETA. You can also simply ask Siri and receive spoken turn-by-turn directions, along with Maps, which will appear on your car’s built-in display.  CarPlay gives drivers access to all of their music, podcasts, audiobooks and iTunes Radio℠ with easy navigation through listening choices from the car’s built-in controls or simply by asking Siri to pull up what you’d like to hear. CarPlay also supports select third-party audio apps including Spotify and iHeartRadio, so you can listen to your favorite radio services or sports broadcast apps while driving.”

Now, adding to the confusion, CNET quotes Pin van der Jagt, a Ford managing director, “Sync 1 and 2 was done with Microsoft but we are not married with them. For us, it’s a supplier, so every time we keep evaluating is it the right partner.”  He continued, “That [the switch to QNX] is a rumor. What we are in the process of, we are spec’ing out our requirements for the next generation: what we want to do, what features we want to add, what functionality. Then you go through a normal supply selection process. Those requirements for the next generation get sent out to everybody, to Microsoft, to Apple, to everybody, and they come back with offers… We go to evaluation and make a choice and that choice hasn’t been made yet.”

It’s not clear to me right now, just what it all means for current or future owners of the Ford C-Max.  I would love to have CarPlay support.  I use an iPhone, iPad and iMac.  To have my car integrate closely with these Apple devices I use currently would be a big benefit, but not enough to sell the car and get another that supported CarPlay.  It would be nice if Ford allow current owners of MyFord Touch to upgrade their infotainment system for free.  The warranty on MyFord Touch is now for 5 years and unlimited miles.  Even an upgrade for a fee may be worth it to me.

What’s your opinion?

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Learning How to Operate the C-Max with Ford Videos

Ford has produced many videos illustrating the operation of the C-Max Hybrid or Energi.  They are disorganized and mixed with videos for other vehicles.  I’ve listed the videos that are applicable to the C-Max below.  Captions of videos that apply only to the C-Max Energi start with Energi.  Other videos are for both vehicles.

Fueling

Pressurized Gasoline Fuel Door

Energi Fuel Freshness and Oil Maintenance

Energi Charging

Energi Installation of a 240V Charging Station, Note: This is not required.  A 120V Charger is included with the Energi.  There are also other 240V solutions which I wrote about in a earlier blog.

 MyFord Mobile (Videos for Energi Only)

MyFord® Mobile – Introduction and Registration for your Ford C-MAX Energi

MyFord Mobile – Smartphone Features for your Ford C-Max Energi

MyFord Mobile – Programming your Ford C-MAX Energi Charge Settings

MyFord Mobile – Website Features for your Ford C-MAX Energi

C-Max Energi Gauge Detail

Ford C-Max Energi Gauge Detail

Instrument Panel

Instrument Panel Cluster Display

Energi Instrument Panel Overview, Short Version

Energi Instrument Panel Overview, Long Version

Energi Display Mode: Range, Inform, Enlighten, Engage, Empower and MyView

Energi, EV Now, EV Later, and Auto EV

Energi EV Range and Instantaneous Fuel Gauge

Fuel Economy Menu in Instrument Panel Cluster Display

Trip and Lifetime Summary

Setting Trip Data

Safety

Integrated Blind Spot Mirrors

Improving MPG

Brake Coach

EV+ and ECO Cruise Control

Other

Electric Park Brake Control

Headset Adjustment

Rain Wiper Control

Rain Sensing Wipers

Power Window Control

Power Liftgate Features

Foot-activated Liftgate

C-Max Energi MyFord Touch Sony Audio

Ford C-Max Energi MyFord Touch Sony Audio System Front View

SYNC, MyFord, Navigation and RearView Camera

MyFord Touch – Programming your Ford C-Max Energi Charge Settings

MyFord Touch – Programming your Ford C-Max Energi Go Times

SYNC with MyFord Touch: System Settings/Master Reset

Using the 8-inch Touch Screen

Getting Help and System Information

Changing the Display Brightness

SYNC Services

MyFord Touch Overview

Using Voice Commands

SYNC with MyFord Touch Climate Control

Using Auto or Dual Mode Climate Controls

Setting the Temperature to “My Temp”

Heated and Cooled Seats

Heated Steering Wheel

Clean Pairing a Bluetooth Phone

SYNC Hands-free Features, Auto Call Transfer, Phone Book Download, Call and Text with Voice Commands

Making a Phone Call

Receiving an Incoming Call

Receiving a Call with Privacy Mode

Do Not Disturb

Receving & Sending Text Messages

Vehicle Health Report and 911 Assist App and Installing new Ford Software

SYNC AppLink, Controlling Apps with Voice Commands

Navigation: Setting My Home

Navigation: Setting a Destination

Navigation: Saving Favorite Destinations

Navigation Route Options

Getting Directions with SYNC Services

Rear View Camera Settings

Setting the Clock

Settings: Enabling Valet Mode

Setting and Adjusting Ambient Lighting

Adding Wall Paper to the Home Screen

SYNC Music and Audio on iPhone Controlled with Voice Commands

Setting Radio Presets

Playing Music from an iPhone or other MP3 Player via USB

Playing Music from an iPhone or other MP3 Player via Bluetooth

Choosing Entertainment Features by Voice

This blog was edited on January 6th, 19th and March 31, 2013.

 

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