Okay, the headline for this article might be a little over the top. The term “breaking news” is sort of meaningless these days anyway in the age of conspiracy theories and fake news. Breaking news: President Trump just tweeted. Well, not really.
I do think it’s big news, though, that the 2021 Chevy Trailblazer AWD RS lets you connect your Apple iPhone wirelessly and still use CarPlay. Maybe you think that is not on the magnitude of, say, a major earthquake or the Minnesota Vikings winning the Super Bowl, but it is an important milestone. And, let’s be honest, this is likely the end of cable clutter as we know it.
For starters, the Chevy Trailblazer is one hot little SUV with space for all of the minions to boot, the kind that car people notice from blocks away. I was at Chick-Fil-A for the second time in a week (what can I say, I like their shakes) and someone drove all the way over from across the intersection and into the parking lot to ask me about the color and the make and model. (The model also looks similar to the 2020 Hyundai Kona.)
That’s the first thing to mention. The second is that there is a cubby hole to the right of your knee (if you are the driver) where you can stash and charge your phone. All good so far. Cool SUV that people notice, check. A way to charge your phone easily, check check.
What surprised me is that, other than a BMW I tested once in Las Vegas, this is the first time I’ve noticed that Apple CarPlay works over wireless. You read that right, people who like CarPlay but hate the cables. Normally, for this to work, you have to connect with a USB cable. Which means there’s a cable that can wrap around the center console and just looks cluttered.
Once connected over Bluetooth, all of the same features worked fine — the navigation from my phone, finding podcasts, playing random bands I like by asking Siri to play them. It might not seem like a miracle (or breaking news) but for someone who has tested over 700 cars in 10 years and has always had to connect my phone with a USB cable (about 700 times now), it is amazing to be able to just drop my phone onto the pad and still use CarPlay.
And, as always, it means there are better things to come. Wireless is the wave of the future, quite literally if you know how radio signals work. Everyone in the car could have a charging pad in the back and connect to the car wirelessly if they want. Wireless connections could help us connect to other cars as well, to the road signs, to intersections — we’re talking a good solid step in the right direction where wireless transmission helps with safety, entertainment, connected car infrastructure, and even things like ordering take-out from the car itself.
Decluttering actually helps us drive better, too. We’re not as distracted by tangled cords or having to connect up before we drive. It streamlines everything. Here’s hoping Chevy trailblazes this type of connection in every other car, not just the luxury brands and cool SUVs.