Imagine trying to explain this concept to someone 10 years ago.
Thanks to the advent of fast, easy software updates, the car you left the dealership with might be eligible for an upgrade or two in the future, bringing new features that weren’t part of the initial purchase decision. That’s the case for two Toyota models and software that many folks deem damn near necessary in 2019.
Toyota announced last week that two 2018 models are available for a software retrofit that adds both Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa compatibility. Owners of eligible 2018 Toyota Camry sedans and 2018 Toyota Sienna minivans will soon receive word from Toyota, which will encourage them to head to a dealership and have the software added to their vehicles.
This will be a huge boon to 2018 buyers, since Toyota announced that many 2019 and most 2020 vehicles will have Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa integration. Alexa compatibility is new, but it allows you to access your Alexa’s capabilities from behind the wheel, making sure your lights are set correctly or any of the other myriad things you can do with Amazon’s assistant. Apple CarPlay is, at this point, a must-have for many buyers, as it allows you to operate your iPhone through a special infotainment-system interface.
While some automakers can push these updates over the air, it’ll be up to Sienna and Camry owners to head to a physical dealership for the software update, which shouldn’t take very long to actually install on the car’s head unit. When asked for a cost, Toyota demurred via email, saying that customers should contact dealers for more information, and that there “may be a small service charge for the install.”
Originally published April 29, 11:33 a.m. PT.
Update, 12:23 p.m.: Updated with manufacturer guidance on update pricing.