On Monday, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) unveiled its latest product, which combines the iOS experience with the car’s entertainment and navigation console.

Apple’s solution, which it calls CarPlay, gives iPhone users a new way to make calls, listen to music, read and send messages using either an integrated touch screen or voice control powered by Siri.

Carplay Music Apple CarPlay music interface Photo: Apple

The native voice assistant of iOS can simply be activated with the push of a voice control button on a steering wheel or through the car’s touch screen interface.

Several vehicle manufacturers have partnered with Apple to unveil new vehicles with CarPlay support this week at the Geneva International Motor Show. Among the first to roll out CarPlay are Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo (OMX:VOLVB), with more manufacturers such as BMW Group (FWB:BMW), Ford (NYSE:F), General Motors (NYSE:GM), Honda (NYSE:HMC), Hyundai Motor Company (KRX:005380), Jaguar Land Rover, Kia Motors (KRX:000270), Mitsubishi Motors (TYO:7211), Nissan Motor Company (TYO:7201), PSA Peugeot Citroën (EPA:UG), Subaru, Suzuki (TYO:7269) and Toyota Motor Corp (NYSE:TM).

“CarPlay has been designed from the ground up to provide drivers with an incredible experience using their iPhone in the car,” said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s vice president of iPhone and iOS product marketing. “iPhone users always want their content at their fingertips, and CarPlay lets drivers use their iPhone in the car with minimized distraction. We have an amazing lineup of auto partners rolling out CarPlay, and we’re thrilled it will make its debut this week in Geneva.”

How does CarPlay work?

According to Apple, CarPlay integration happens as soon as an iPhone is connected to a vehicle that supports CarPlay. Among the larger focuses is the use of Siri to manage CarPlay navigation of contacts, calls and reading messages and voicemails.

Carplay Map integration Carplay integrates many iOS functions, including Apple Maps. Photo: Apple

Besides making communication easier, CarPlay takes Apple Maps driving directions to another level by working to anticipate destinations by using recent trips through contacts, emails or texts, along with providing turn-by-turn directions, ETAs and traffic conditions.

For the more musically inclined, iTunes Radio, audio book, podcasts and music all integrate with CarPlay. While not all third-party apps are currently supported, select third-party apps such as Spotify and iHeartRadio will work with CarPlay initially.

Apple CarPlay support will be added to iOS 7 Lightning-enabled iPhones, including the iPhone 5S, iPhone 5C and iPhone 5 through a software update as select cars with CarPlay support begin shipping in 2014.