Tesla owners love over-the-air software updates, which add features to enhance performance, convenience and safety. But the updates can also make the Tesla experience more fun around Christmas time.

This year’s big “holiday update” brings a top feature that Tesla fans have been clamoring for: Apple Music on the infotainment screen. Also added was Zoom video conference integration using the in-cabin camera and microphone.

And in keeping with the celebratory theme of the season, Tesla vehicles can now perform synchronized light shows, with flashing exterior lights and moving motorized doors to songs such as Auld Lang Syne, Tesla said this week.

“More and more automakers are taking advantage of over-the-air capability to bring updates to a vehicle’s safety, infotainment and even drive systems,” said Robby DeGraff, industry analyst at AutoPacific. “Tesla’s been perhaps the leader in this practice for years now. And come each December, owners can look forward to being treated to to all sorts of gifts via this annual holiday software update.”

The Tesla light shows are not new, but now come with more options, including the ability to synchronize a multiple vehicle light show up to 10 minutes in advance, Tesla said during the software rollout to Model S, X, 3 and Y owners.

“During the holiday season, you show it off to your family, you show it off to your friends,” said a host of the YouTube channel ChargeGo about the light show. “It’s not even a car at that point, it’s a toy.”

Tesla’s popular Dog Mode, which controls the interior temperature and displays a message on the center touchscreen for bystanders not to worry, adds a live interior camera feed that can be viewed on a smartphone, Tesla said. That feed can also be used with Tesla’s Sentry Mode, a security feature that previously used only exterior cameras.

Surveys show that Tesla owners are the most loyal among auto brands in the U.S., and software updates are one reason why. In addition to small and quirky features, updates can make Teslas faster and improve braking performance.

Owners of EVs are more demanding when it comes to in-cabin features, according to AutoPacific, because they spend more idle time in their cars while charging. Teslas have long featured streaming services such as Netflix.

“The engineering elves in Musk’s workshop seem to really be paying attention to what cool and helpful features their customers desire,” DeGraff said.

“Two new features in particular delivered via this year’s update are ones that our recent research here at AutoPacific has shown EV owners especially would take advantage of more than owners of combustion vehicles: in-vehicle video conferencing and video gaming,” DeGraff added.

Zoom CEO Eric Yuan posted a picture on Twitter of his first video call in a Tesla. The image shows Yuan with other participants in a grid layout.

The Zoom video feed only works when the vehicle is parked.

The holiday software update also expands the number of video games that can be played inside a Tesla by adding the Steam gaming platform, but only for 2022 Model X and S vehicles with more robust computer specs, Tesla said. Those two also receive the ability to use Bluetooth game controllers, rather than wired controllers.

Tesla also has made good on its promise to bring “track mode” to the Model Y crossover. The software setting modifies traction control, braking and cooling systems to increase performance and handling on closed courses, the automaker said.

Other software enhancements include automatic canceling turn signals for lane changes and the ability to generate fart sounds via the Tesla mobile app — a feature called “emissions testing.” Fart sounds are not new on Teslas, but the remote feature is.

The feature most requested by Tesla owners, according to surveys, has been Apple Music incorporated into the infotainment. Previously, Tesla owners could only use Apple Music by streaming it over Bluetooth through their smartphones, which wasn’t ideal. Tesla had integrated apps for competing music services like Spotify.

The Tesla software update does not include the entire Apple CarPlay suite of apps, which is nearly universal on new vehicles from legacy auto brands.

On Tesla online forums, owners have long speculated that Apple Music was not available on Teslas because of a perceived business rivalry between the two firms. Apple is reportedly developing an electric car, autonomous vehicle software, or both. Apple is also expanding its reach into more vehicle functions with CarPlay.

Since Teslas are considered the “iPhone of cars,” according to some Tesla fans, the lack of Apple Music was considered a glaring omission.

“Everyone’s been waiting on Apple Music,” said the ChargeGo host. “It’s about time that Tesla reached some sort of deal with Apple.”

Tesla holiday updates have not been without controversy since Tesla CEO Elon Musk is known to push the limits of what safety regulators will allow.

A 2020 Christmas feature, Boombox, was later recalled because it allowed any sound to be played on the external speaker of newer Tesla models.

NHTSA said Boombox allowed external sounds while the vehicle was in motion, potentially obscuring the EV warning sound that alerts pedestrians to an approaching vehicle.

About 600,000 Teslas received an over-the-air update early this year to restrict Boombox to situations where the vehicle is parked. The recall came after months of wrangling between Tesla and regulators.

At the time of the recall, Musk blamed NHTSA for restricting the novelty feature.

“The fun police made us do it,” Musk said in a Twitter post.

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