Apple CarPlay integrates iPhone with your car for mapping, music, messages, with Siri control

Apple has announced CarPlay, which it calls a "smarter, safer and more fun" way to use your iPhone in the car.

The new system will allow cars and the iPhone to work closer together, giving drivers access to mapping, music services and messages, with simple words or touch controls.

You'll be able to use the car's interface to have direct control over devices, through the touchscreen, or via Siri voice controls using a steering wheel-mounted button.

CarPlay navigation functions are said to predict destinations based on recent trips, giving you driving directions and traffic information. Siri will give you spoken directions, with maps appearing on the car's display.

On the music front there's support for apps like Spotify, along with simple integration of all the music you have on your device to make listening in the car easy.

Apple CarPlay will be compatible with all Lightning-equipped iPhones (iPhone 5, iPhone 5S, iPhone 5C) and will arrive as an update to iOS7.

"CarPlay has been designed from the ground up to provide drivers with an incredible experience using their iPhone in the car," said Greg Joswiak, vice-president of iPhone and iOS product marketing at Apple.

"iPhone users always want their content at their fingertips and CarPlay lets drivers use their iPhone in the car with minimised distraction. We have an amazing line-up of auto partners rolling out CarPlay, and we're thrilled it will make its debut this week in Geneva."

Announced in time for the Geneva International Motor Show, the new system will debut with Ferrari, Volvo and Mercedes-Benz, with models being demonstrated at the Motor Show, and a wide range of manufacturers to feature CarPlay in the future, including BMW, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover, Kia, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Peugeot, Citroën, Subaru, Suzuki and Toyota.

Apple is no stranger to in-car support, but the evolution of CarPlay looks like a big step towards standardisation of the Apple iPhone experience behind the wheel.

Cars equipped with Apple CarPlay will be available in 2014.