2017 Tesla Model S
Tesla is known for having the Apple of car user interfaces on its big center displays.
A recent patent filing shows Tesla may not be finished up dating the system, either for the Model 3 or the Model S or X.
Tesla patent filing shows Model S screen with four-square application windows
The latest filing, last month, shows the company may expand the number of windows Tesla drivers can open at a time, to four, plus the menu bar at the top and the climate controls at the bottom.
It's not clear when or even if Tesla may roll out such a new update, but it could address one of Model S and X users' main complaints about the Version 9 software update that Tesla most recently rolled out this fall: That the navigation window is always at the top of the screen, taking up space—which leaves only one additional window available to open other apps such as the media player. Drivers traveling in familiar areas might not need the map, but want to see energy usage information, for example, along with the media player.
(Tesla drivers were so annoyed by this that they started an online petition to Tesla to allow drivers to put the backup camera display back at the top of the screen.)
While Version 9 does have a hidden way to allow drivers to create two smaller screens below the map, the new software in the patent filing shows four windows, stacked in two rows of two, between the top menu bar and the bottom climate controls.
It's possible that Tesla is waiting for faster chips coming for Autopilot before rolling out the new software. It could also still be under development.
With windows that can be dragged and dropped into different locations, it sounds more and more like a computer screen than an automotive interface. If and when it ever comes out, we'll be interested to see how drivers manage juggling four windows on the road.