updated 06:19 pm EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
Audio versions of articles temporarily suspended for changeover
The USA Today newspaper app for iOS is temporarily removing the program's ability to feature audio versions of top articles, revealing that the reason is due to a change of serving technology needed to prepare a forthcoming update of the app to be CarPlay-compatible. In the current update of the app, the announcement was buried in the program's release notes, and there is no mention of when the audio feature will return.
CarPlay is Apple's in-car technology for adapting the iOS interface to work with existing built-in new car infotainment and navigation systems. Carmakers can continue to build their own systems or partner with other providers, but when an iPhone is connected certain iOS features such as Apple Maps and Siri, among other Apple and third-party-provided services, become available with an iOS-like interface. Google has a similar offering connected to Android, and both can be compatible with the car's system if the automaker provides for it.
At present, a very limited selection of third-party apps, approved by Apple for in-car safety and use, are officially compatible. The USA Today app is not yet among them, but it will need to be tested by Apple before being added to the list. If approved, the USA Today would be the first news-centric app for CarPlay, joining mostly radio, subscription streamers and sports app MLB at Bat in the short list of recommended third-party apps.
CarPlay compatibility is expected to be a significant selling point with 2015 model year cars, though the number of models with current or announced support by the end of this year is at present small. Most major carmakers have signed on to introduce CarPlay in at least some of their models across 2015.