Tesla is creating an App Store, but it's not what you think

By Not a Tesla App Staff

According to Sawyer Merritt and Teslascope, Tesla is in active development of an app store for its vehicles. The app store is rumored to be released before the first Cybertrucks are delivered.

Concept designer DeleetDesigns has even designed what a Tesla app store could look like.

What a Tesla app store can look like
What a Tesla app store can look like
DeleetDesigns

Having a Tesla app store is certainly an interesting concept, and I certainly believe Tesla is working on one, but it may not be what you think it is.

The concept by DeleetDesigns is well-executed and it brings some interesting ideas to the table like letting you charge items to your Tesla account.

However, it leads us to believe that a Tesla app store will be similar to Apple's or Google's versions.

I'm not sure apps like Burger King, Slack, Twitter, and others are great candidates for the Tesla app store.

There are only about 2 million Teslas. While it's certainly impressive what Tesla has been able to accomplish, that's only about 0.0016% of all the active iPhones in the world. What this means is that developers wouldn't put as much money and time into their Tesla app versions. And after they're developed, they'll quickly fall behind their smartphone counterparts.

Tesla could avoid this issue by letting users run Android apps, similar to how you could run Andorid apps on some Chromebooks, but most of these apps don't scale well to larger screens, especially a 15 or 17-inch screen.

It'll always be easier to scroll through something like Twitter on your phone than it is on a screen that's an arm's length away from you. It's also more convenient to type on a phone than it is to peck at an on-screen keyboard.

What We Think the Tesla App Store Will Be

We know that Tesla is working on an app store, and here's what we think it'll be like.

Instead of being an app store similar to Apple's that allows developers to make any kind of app, we think Tesla will be limiting the apps to the ones that are well suited for use in a car.

It's expensive to create the framework required to create an app store, especially one that allows apps to be as versatile as phone apps are today. Why should Tesla go through all that work for developers to create apps that few people will use?

How often do find yourself wanting to use your TV instead of your smartphone? Even for some video apps like TikTok, it doesn't make a lot of sense. It's just easier to swipe on your phone.

Many set-top boxes can run all sorts of apps, but most people don't want to shop on Amazon or browser Facebook on their TV.

Instead, they want to use their TV for apps that can provide an experience their phone isn't able to. Apps that allow them to stream video on a larger screen, like Netflix, or exercise with apps like Peloton or Apple Fitness+, or maybe even share a slideshow for the family. What we're not doing is responding to emails or Slack messages on the TV, or even looking at stock quotes. That kind of stuff is much more suited for a phone.

Although Tesla has one of the best infotainment systems of any vehicle, it can't compete with a device that you upgrade every few years. A device that has a faster connection, higher resolution screen, more storage, easier payment authentication, and a faster processor.

A Tesla app will be successful when can leverage the benefits a Tesla can provide over your phone; a bigger screen and integration with your Tesla.

Tesla won't bother creating APIs for developers to build apps that aren't well suited for a Tesla.

Instead, Tesla will focus their efforts on building developer tools that will allow anyone to create apps that will excel in a Tesla. These apps will be for things such as SiriusXM and Apple Music. It could be video streaming apps like YouTube TV and Amazon Prime Video.

These apps will integrate seamlessly into your Tesla UI, just like DeleetDesigns illustrates in his concept.

The Tesla app store would let developers port additional games to Teslas as well, giving owners even more gaming options.

Creating an app store will be a huge win for Tesla. There are a lot of entertainment options out there and Tesla can't keep up with all the latest streaming services.

By creating an app store and APIs for developers, Tesla can offload the development of these apps to other companies. It'll allow companies like Apple to create Apple Music for your Tesla, it'll allow SiriusXM can create a streaming SiriusXM app. This will free up Tesla's engineers' time and give owners the apps they're looking for.

Most Teslas have relatively small hard drives, so they're not capable of storing apps endless amounts of video streaming apps and games. By creating an app store, users could install only the apps and games that are relevant to them. This will help free up space taken up games or apps the owner may not use today.

To run apps similar to our smartphones and tablets, Teslas would require a more capable processor than the one used in most Teslas. It'd likely only be available for Teslas with MCU 3, which would exclude almost all Teslas manufactured so far.

However, if the app store was limited to games, video, and audio streaming apps, then it could be available for MCU 2 vehicles as well.

All of the video streaming apps in Teslas today are just full-screen versions of the app's website. Having developers create native experiences for Netflix, YouTube and others would make these apps much more responsive than they are today.

We know that Tesla is creating an app store that will likely be released in the coming year. The app store will benefit Tesla and Tesla owners alike, but we may have to alter our expectations of what a Tesla app store will be.

Tesla Update 2024.20 Lets Matrix Headlights Adapt to Curves, Adds Supercharger Leaderboards and More

By Karan Singh

Tesla has been on a roll with updates recently, and now update 2024.20 was released to employees over the weekend. This update builds on the many features in the Spring Update and adds a few big improvements.

Adaptive Headlights

New updates to Adaptive Headlights are arriving for European cars with matrix headlights. The new update allows the headlights to adapt to curves in the road ahead of you, enabling better illumination. Having the adaptive headlights work for curves is the second major update for matrix headlights. Update 2024.8 added adaptive high-beam support, letting your high beams stay on longer by turning off select LEDs in the headlights.

Update 2024.2 first brought adaptive high beams to the new Model 3, before it was later introduced to older vehicles with matrix headlights. At this time, it’s not clear whether the improvements to headlights around curves will be exclusive to matrix headlights or also support the new Model 3.

How to Tell If You Have Matrix Headlights

How do you know if you have matrix headlights on your Tesla? On the outer edge of the headlight, there will be a large, round projector dome, like in the image below. If there isn’t a dome, those are standard non-matrix headlights.
Another way to tell is to run a stock light show while facing a wall. If the Tesla logo, in letters, pops up, you have matrix headlights.

Matrix headlights have a circular dome projector on the outer edge.
Matrix headlights have a circular dome projector on the outer edge.

For now, North America still does not have adaptive headlight support, mostly due to legislative and testing issues in the United States. The US recently approved adaptive headlights, and a Tesla employee mentioned they’re working on it. Canada has legalized adaptive headlights since 2018, so we see this deployed in North America at some point in the future.

Supercharger Races on Beach Buggy Racing 2

Tesla is still improving its Arcade functionality, with the addition of local leaderboards at Superchargers in Beach Buggy Racing 2. It appears that each individual Supercharger site will have its own leaderboard, which drivers can compete on while their cars charge. Tesla says there will also be special races to compete in this Beach Buggy Racing 2 update.

Tesla owners can plug in and play with a controller, the touchscreen, or their vehicle’s steering wheel. Thanks to steer-by-wire on the Cybertruck, the actual wheels on the truck won’t move like they do on other Tesla models when playing the game.

We continue to hope that future refreshes to the S, 3, X, and Y will eventually receive steer-by-wire as well, as the feature has quite a few unique uses, whether driving or parked.

Autopilot Strikes and Suspension

An updated Autopilot Strike system, similar to the one that is on Tesla’s upcoming FSD V12.4 update, is on 2024.20 as well. At five strikes, users will be suspended from the use of Autopilot like before, but now Tesla will remove a strike for each 7-day period the driver goes without receiving a strike.

FSD 12.4 also improves vision-based monitoring and removes the steering wheel nag, but that’s not in this latest Tesla update, but will likely be added in the future.

Tesla tends to release new Autopilot features in their FSD updates before releasing them to the wider public for regular Autopilot use.

Hot Weather Improvements

The last set of user-end improvements coming in 2024.20 will be related to hot weather, the opposite of 2024.2.6’s cold weather update. This set of changes intends to improve AUTO mode HVAC performance in hot weather, helping to cool down the cabin faster, while also maintaining comfort at lower noise levels.

There have been several updates in the last six months to Tesla’s HVAC systems, all helping to deliver a quieter, more comfortable experience, with one of the last major ones introducing cool-down or warm-up periods before blowing air into the car cabin.

Tesla Software in China Shows 'Employee FSD Beta Program' as Tesla Prepares for Launch

By Karan Singh

Chris Zeng, a Chinese Tesla content creator on X, recently posted an image with Tesla’s Spring Update – 2024.14, with the words “Employee FSD Beta Program: Registered.”

He also confirmed that although this text appears in the vehicle, there are no actual FSD features enabled yet.

FSD Beta Coming to China

Recently, Tesla began to offer Enhanced Autopilot subscriptions in China, and Chinese corporate giant Baidu announced that it will be providing enhanced 3D mapping for Tesla vehicles as well.

On a recent trip to China, Elon Musk spoke with Premier Li Qiang on the rollout of FSD to China. Later follow-ups said that “it may be possible [for FSD to arrive in China] very soon”.

FSD Shadow Mode

Tesla’s cars can operate FSD in Shadow Mode – which means that the vehicle is running FSD in the background without any real output except analytics. This is a common software practice that lets software engineers compare the process they’re testing against an existing known output and compare the results. In this case, Tesla compares what FSD would do to what the driver does, and any discrepancies are reported back to be analyzed.

With this information, we could guess that FSD has been operating in Shadow Mode in China for a while, and this new Employee FSD Beta Program will be the beginning of employee testing in China, providing even more data for the end-to-end process that is FSD V12.

FSD Beta, not Supervised FSD

Most interestingly, the photo refers to “FSD Beta” instead of “Supervised,” which Tesla started using with FSD 12.3.3 in March 2024. This could imply that FSD in China isn’t ready for a “Supervised” variant, and it’s considered to be in more of a testing stage.

In the photo, we can also see that it says “Wave 1,” which is what Tesla calls the group of employees who receive “pre-release” Tesla updates on their personal vehicles. Wave 1 serves as a final test for software before its released to the public. In most cases, the software is rolled out publicly within a couple of weeks, however, there have been times when bugs are found and Tesla releases revision before a public release.

Release Date

Prior to larger releases here in North America, we generally see Tesla ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) testing and verification vehicles on the roads, which have not yet been spotted in China.

Whether these vehicles will be needed in China is up for debate, but once FSD features begin rolling out to employees, we should get a better idea of a public release in China.

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