Ford’s in-car infotainment system is getting an overhaul with SYNC 3, which will add a capacitive touch screen, better integration with smartphone apps and, eventually, support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
SYNC 3 will initially launch in a small lineup of vehicles rolling off assembly lines in 2015. Ford plans to have it available across its full North America line by the end of 2016.
While there are 10 million vehicles on the road with SYNC, none of them will get the new version of the service.
“It’s both a hardware and software update,” said Don Butler, Ford’s executive director of connected vehicle and services.
The biggest hardware change will be moving from resistive touch screens to capacitive ones. The new capacitive screens will be an experience most people are familiar with from tablets and smartphones. It allows for multitouch, pinch-to-zoom and requires light taps to activate on-screen buttons. Resistive touch displays, while cheaper to make, are typically more difficult and restrictive to use. They don’t support multitouch and heavier pressure is needed to activate the screen.