Last week, Apple announced its revolutionary new mobile operating system iOS7. While consumers around the world obsessed over the new flattened design aesthetic and visual upgrades, gearheads received far more important news.
For roughly a year, there was talk that major automakers would begin to integrate Apple’s voice-activated Siri feature into their new models, but not much action. At this week’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference, Apple confirmed that, beginning in 2014, 12 automakers will begin to offer this new feature, creatively dubbed “iOS in the Car.”
This will allow drivers to access all of the major functions of their iPhones from their infotainment display, which will mimic that of the driver’s iPhone. They will be able to play music, make calls, send text messages, tweet and activate Apple’s Maps feature vocally. The maps feature has also been upgraded for this integration and will be able to provide drivers with real-time traffic information, route summaries, and estimated times of arrival.
The companies that have been announced as early adopters of this system include Acura, Chevy, Ferrari, Honda, Hyundai, Infiniti, Jaguar, Kia, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Opel and Volvo. None has provided any specifics beyond Apple’s official statement.
This news has met with a fair mixture of excitement and derision from drivers and industry pundits alike. While it’s far too early to predict whether or not this system will be a success or failure, many have criticized the emphasis on one particular smartphone brand. Although Apple technically retains an almost 40% share of the smartphone market, the other 60% is taken up by Android devices. Their market shares are fragmented simply because they are produced by separate companies, due to Android’s open development model.
When Android is treated as a singular entity, it has a dramatic advantage over Apple in terms of market share. With this fact in mind, many have criticized the wisdom of including a dedicated iPhone feature.
Despite this, it’s reasonable to expect eventual success for this new integration. IOS in the Car will not exist as an exclusive infotainment option, but rather will supplement that which already exists in the vehicle.
Given the massive brand loyalty that Apple commands, this may turn out to be a rather astute move by these automakers. These marquees comprise a full range of luxury, from bargain basement hatchbacks to exotic supercars, providing Apple fans of all income levels to drive a car that integrates fully with their other media.
Although it is still a year away, this new technology is certainly intriguing. As technology and media become an increasingly important aspect of the driving experience, this type of integration should only become more common.