Ford SYNC 3 Apple CarPlayFord has finally installed Apple CarPlay and Android Auto into the latest version of its in-car infotainment system, Sync 3.

It’s a big deal. Ford says there are over 15 million Sync-equipped cars on the road. By 2020, there will be a staggering 43 million.

The long-awaited announcement at CES 2016 thus at last will allow Ford drivers to control their Apple and Android smartphone apps through the colour Sync touchscreen.

It means smartphone maps, messages, music and phone can all be controlled via the car – and it should also offer in-car access to additional apps such as Spotify.

The interface mirrors the smartphone’s too.

Rolling out this year on 2017 cars, for now it’s only on the latest Sync 3 system currently on sale in the United States: Europe still uses the older, fiddlier Sync 2 system.

Wait for a possible announcement at next month’s Worldwide Mobile Congress in Spain on that, hinted a spokesman…

Sync apps

Ford’s also launching a suite of apps for Sync 3, via a new Sync AppLink system.

In the US, this links to apps such as Eventseeker, which hunts down events that fit a user’s preassigned profile as they drive. Another app tracks fuel prices and plans a route to the cheapest.

Similarly smart apps are expected for European owners when the system is launched.

Ford’s proud of the Sync system, which it launched in 2007 as “the industry’s first system to widely and most affordably offer voice-activated technology to control smartphones”.

It’s grown and been honed a lot since then. And at last, now more fully links with the world’s two most widely used smartphone platforms.