Apple's CarPlay will be available for Mercedes, Ferrari and Volvo shortly (Photo: Apple)

Apple said a new iPhone connectivity suite will be available for Ferrari, Mercedes and Volvo this week and for other brands at a later date.

Apple said its "CarPlay" software can be operated through the car's HMI or by using the company's Siri voice control.

Greg Joswiak, Apple's vice president of iPhone and iOS product marketing, said CarPlay is designed to make it easy to use iPhones in the car. "CarPlay lets drivers use their iPhone in the car with minimized distraction," he said in a press statement.

Using Siri, drivers can access contacts, make and receive calls and listen to voicemails from their iPhones. They can also dictate messages or have messages read out loud.

And CarPlay provides a range of navigation and infotainment options.

Apple said CarPlay is available as an update to its iOS 7 mobile phone operating system.

In addition to the three early-adopter brands, BMW, Ford, General Motors and several other carmakers will make the service available in their cars at a later date.

Apple made its CarPlay announcement at the start of the annual Geneva auto show.