Tesla Holiday Update Wish List Part 3: Entertainment and Connectivity


By Kevin Armstrong

Tesla Owners wish list for the holiday update

Elon Musk has always maintained that he wants a Tesla to be the most fun you can have in a car. During the holiday season, Tesla is by far the most festive automobile on the road. Tesla owners are a little more festive this time of year as well because we all know the best update of the year will soon be downloaded to all the good Teslas.

This article, the third in our series on the Holiday Update Wish List, focuses on advancements in in-car entertainment and digital connectivity.

App Store for Third-Party Apps

A significant leap in Tesla’s software offering would be an official App Store. We’ve seen a few hints of this, but clearly, owners want it as this feature would open a new realm of possibilities, allowing drivers and passengers to download and use third-party apps directly on the vehicle’s interface.

Integrating an App Store could bring various applications, from navigation aids to productivity tools, and more entertainment options. This move would actually help free up Tesla engineers from the continuous cycle of developing and integrating additional streaming services, such as SiriusXM, YouTube TV, Fubo, Amazon Music, and many others.

Games would also be a major attraction to Tesla’s App Store. With an App Store, Tesla could rely on game publishers and other third-party developers for porting andn developing games that could be played in the vehicle. This move would shift how we perceive car infotainment systems, turning Tesla’s impressive touchscreens into hubs of personalization and utility.

Elevating the Music Experience with Spotify

The Tesla community has long requested improved Spotify integration, particularly regarding streaming quality. With the potential increase in Spotify’s streaming bitrate to 320 kbps, Tesla could offer an audiophile-grade listening experience, leveraging the vehicle’s premium sound system to deliver rich, high-fidelity audio. Such an upgrade would not only please music enthusiasts but also reinforce Tesla’s commitment to offering premium, cutting-edge vehicle features.

A realistic possibility is the inclusion of Apple Music podcasts which has been hinted at by Greentheonly after finding some references to them in one of Tesla’s recent software updates.

Advanced Bluetooth Audio Support

In line with enhancing audio experiences, Tesla owners are asking Santa Musk to support higher-quality Bluetooth audio. This improvement would cater to an increasingly discerning customer base that values superior sound quality for their media consumption. Musk previously hinted at lossless audio and AirPlay integration in Tesla vehicles, but its not clear whether Tesla ever started development on these features.

By introducing an App Store, enhancing streaming quality, and upgrading Bluetooth audio support, Tesla would build upon its already good set of entertainment offerings. These features are not just about providing entertainment though; they’re about creating an immersive experience that resonates with the lifestyles and preferences of Tesla drivers, who are often at the forefront of technology. Are these items on Santa’s shopping list? We will have to wait until the holiday update is released.

By Kevin Armstrong

Tesla is offering the Cybertruck Foundation Series to its first customers

The first Cybertrucks will be part of a limited edition called the Cybertruck Foundation Series. Nic Cruz Patane (@niccruzpatane), unearthed source code showing that this limited edition, fully optioned series will offer a suite of premium accessories and features.

According to some early Cybertruck reservation holders, they’re now being invited to configure their Cybertruck Foundation Series at a price of $119,990.

Lifetime Premium Connectivity and Accessories

One of the most notable inclusions in the Foundation Series is the lifetime premium connectivity. This feature currently costs $99 a year. The only other vehicles that include free premium connectivity for the life of the vehicle are vehicles ordered before June 2018. After this date Tesla introduced the premium connectivity package for $10/month or $99/year. By reintroducing it as a lifetime offering, Tesla is enhancing the value proposition of the Cybertruck, possibly saving owners $1,000 or more over the vehicle’s life.

PowerShare: The Next Level in EV Technology

In addition to this, the series comes with an updated universal wall connector with “PowerShare” capabilities. It also includes a new PowerShare mobile connector, which Tesla has yet to unveil.

The new universal wall connector with PowerShare capabilities is a standout feature. This innovative technology allows the Cybertruck to receive power and send it back to the home. It transforms the vehicle into a mobile power source, a concept that blurs the lines between automotive and home energy solutions.

Similarly, the new PowerShare mobile connector is a step forward in bi-directional charging technology. There’s little that’s known about this new mobile connector, but some text on Tesla’s site reveals that there will be outlets on the connector itself. This will allow owners can hook up devices directly, using the Cybertruck as an alternative to traditional generators. This feature particularly appeals to outdoor enthusiasts and professionals requiring portable power solutions.

Although details are scarce, the PowerShare home backup seems to be the final piece in Tesla’s puzzle to enable the Cybertruck to power a home. This feature would control and limit when the Cybertruck could feed energy back into the house. These new features could position the Cybertruck as a critical component in home energy management, especially in emergencies or off-grid living.

The exclusive badging on the Cybertruck Foundation Series and Cyberbeast

Also, there is a mention of Exclusive badges, which seems a little off-brand considering there are no logos or badging on the vehicle, as the Cybertruck doesn’t need it. Foundation Series trucks will have the words Foundation Series in a Cybertruck-typical font displayed on the vehicle’s fender. There will also be a special “badge” for Cyberbeast on the bottom right of the tailgate, which will three wolf-like heads joined together.

Community Response

The announcements has many enthusiasts expressing eagerness to configure their truck; however, others are understandably shocked at the price and are ready to wait for prices to fall in the future.

By Kevin Armstrong

Tesla will expand the use of the cabin camera for HOV lane use

Tesla hacker @greentheonly recently decompiled Tesla’s firmware for software update 2023.44.1 and found a few goodies under the hood.

Green found references to various media player improvements and an upcoming feature for that makes clever use of the in-cabin camera.

Shaka: Tesla’s New Media Player

Tesla began switching to a web-based media player last year with Apple Music and has slowly migrated their audio services to the new player.

However, now Tesla is switching to a different open-sourced web player called Shaka.

While the design of the player is separate and is expected to remain the same, Shaka offers advances such as deep support for various audio and video codecs, including those with DRM.

Shaka isn’t just an audio player and could be used for video playback as well. Shaka also offers support for subtitles, ads and more. It’d be interesting to see if Tesla is thinking about creating an audio service that is supported by ads and doesn’t require premium connectivity. It’s not clear which features Shaka features Tesla will leverage, but their software engineers are likely switching to Shaka for ease of development and better support.

Apple Podcasts

Another notable find is a mention of Apple Podcasts, which aren’t currently available in Tesla’s music services. The integration of Apple Podcasts is expected to be in the Apple Music app, similar to how Spotify podcasts are integrated into their app.

While the use of Apple Music requires a paid subscription, this will no doubt be a useful addition for Apple Music subscribers. For owners who don’t subscribe to a music service, they can continue to listen to podcasts with Tune-In.

Just when will it be activated? The Christmas update is just around the corner.

Customizable Playback Speeds

There are also planned updates around variable playback speeds for media content, including 1.25x, 1.5x, and 2x speed options. As Green indicated, this feature offers greater flexibility in how users consume media, allowing for a personalized listening experience. It remains unclear whether these playback speeds will be available across all platforms or solely for Apple Podcasts.

Automatically Determine Use of HOV Lanes

In an innovative application of in-car technology, this update suggests the use of the cabin camera to turn High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane usage automatically. This feature would be contingent on additional cabin camera permissions. However, if you want Autopilot, (or presumably Full Self Driving) to ride in the HOV lane, it will be able to determine its eligibility automatically.

Activating Autopilot for HOV lanes is currently a manual process. However, considering that eligibility for many states’ HOV lanes depends on the vehicle’s occupancy, it’s smart to utilize the cabin camera to automatically count passengers.

Since some states offer HOV lane use to EVs, even if they don’t meet the occupant threshold, this new feature will likely be an option. Tesla may simply change the HOV lane use option from a toggle to a new setting that offers three options – Always, Never, Auto (Based on Occupants).

While references to these enhancements were found in Tesla software update 2023.44, they’re not available quite yet. However, considering that there are already references to these new features in a production update, it may not be long before these features are exposed.

Tesla’s holiday update is right around the corner and could arrive as early as this week. Some of these features may be a present from Santa Musk himself.

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