In an easter egg left at the Peterson Museum’s Tesla exhibit, fans got a sneak peek at a largely requested feature—Apple Music! On a Model S Plaid lay an Apple Music icon in the app dock, signaling the upcoming release of the feature.
— Aaron Cash (@aaronjcash) November 20, 2022
Why did it take so long?
Since Tesla doesn’t have an app store ecosystem, the company’s development team is largely responsible for building software for the vehicles. This means even third-party apps such as Spotify and Tidal were brought to Tesla vehicles using third-party APIs. Tesla is responsible for maintaining the apps and building new features.
As Tesla is the one maintaining all these integrations, every third-party service is very naive in terms of the user interface and how they integrate with the rest of the UI. However, this also means that there is limited bandwidth on how many services Tesla can build and maintain. Since Spotify is more universal amongst iOS, Android, and Windows, it is clear why Tesla prioritized Spotify integration over Apple Music.
Apple Music is coming, but it won’t be great
Though Apple Music is finally coming to Tesla vehicles, the experience won’t be as good as using it on your phone. Since Tesla will be using the Apple Music APIs, there will be limitations on what will be possible in the app. It is expected that you will only be able to use search and browse through existing playlists. It will likely not be possible to create new playlists or re-order the queue. Most likely there will also be a limit on how many songs a playlist can load on the screen.
Spotify also has a lot of limitations with its API, and the same applies to Tesla’s integration. However, Spotify allows users to manage a music stream from any device that they are using to play music. For example, you can play music on a Tesla and control the songs in the queue from your phone. Since Apple Music doesn’t sync current sessions across devices, the experience will be even more limited than Spotify is.
However, subscribers of Apple Music will be glad that they can play their playlists on their Tesla, regardless of how limited the experience will be!