Apple late to the smartphone-vehicle integration party

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Apple launched its smartphone-vehicle integration offering called CarPlay, previously known as iOS in the Car, at the Geneva Motor Show last week, but it might be too little, too late, warns Strategy Analytics.

In announcing CarPlay, Apple said it lined up Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo for the hands-free integration of the iPhone with the vehicle's infotainment system and expects a number of other car makers to roll out CarPlay "down the road."

Users can control CarPlay from the car's interface or push and hold the voice control button on the steering wheel to activate Siri. It enables drivers to access contacts, make calls, return voice mails, ask for directions and listen to music, all without taking their eyes off the road.

Unfortunately for Apple, other offerings are already out there, such as MirrorLink and Microsoft's SYNC. "Apple is late to the smartphone integration game and the largest and most sophisticated car makers have already solved this problem," explains Roger Lanctot, associate director of automotive multimedia and communications service at Strategy Analytics.

Lanctot says that most automakers he communicated with would keep their existing Apple integration product and would not shift to CarPlay. Only Mercedes indicated that it would alter its existing system to incorporate the new platform. He criticized Apple for not including a feature to call for assistance in the event of an accident, particularly on the eve of Europe's implementation of its eCall mandate.

"Without a more visionary execution [CarPlay] boils down to just another clever app," Lanctot concludes. "CarPlay won't even help you schedule a service visit at your dealer!"

For more:
- check out Apple's release
- read Lanctot's blog

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