Report: Apple's iOS 7 driving aggressive in-car integration push


Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) is accelerating efforts to integrate its iOS software and services into in-car infotainment systems.

Citing sources familiar with Apple's plans, 9to5Mac reports the company is working with automakers to embed signature iOS features into forthcoming vehicles. Insiders said Apple is spearheading the development of new built-in dashboard consoles that connect directly to iOS devices and run applications and services optimized for the in-vehicle experience, complete with Siri-enabled voice controls. For example, the iOS-based display would integrate a version of Apple Maps designed for the in-car form factor, replacing the proprietary GPS system found in many autos.

Sources indicate the in-vehicle platform is based on technologies incorporated into Apple's forthcoming iOS 7 overhaul, which the firm will unveil next month during its annual Worldwide Developers Conference. The new in-vehicle functionality may not reach the consumer market for some time, however: Apple and its automaker partners must first complete extensive technology trials and make improvements to the Apple Maps and Siri infrastructures.

Late last year, General Motors integrated Siri into its Chevrolet MyLink in-car infotainment system, offering drivers a hands-free option for accessing mobile communication and multimedia services. After initiating a Siri session using the steering wheel voice activation button, drivers can make voice-activated, hands-free phone calls to contacts stored on their phone, play music from their iTunes library, compose or listen to iMessages and text messages and access or add Calendar appointments. GM also introduced an eyes-free mode that prevents the iPhone screen from illuminating when Siri responds to motorist questions--in addition, Siri will not respond to complex queries that require displaying Web pages.

Apple is also collaborating with Volkswagen on a new iOS-based user interface that will roll out via the automaker's fledgling iBeetle model line. All iBeetle vehicles include an iPhone docking station located on the vehicle dashboard as well as Bluetooth support: Once the iPhone is connected, motorists can access a specially-developed iBeetle application bundling other apps including Spotify streaming radio, Reader (which presents audio versions of text messages and social media updates), Expert (which measures lateral acceleration, oil and coolant temperatures and other vehicular metrics), Trainer (which compares driving times, distances and fuel economy values) and Postcard (which sends the car's current location to select contacts).

Volkswagen coordinated the iBeetle interface with Apple engineers, and iBeetle models will take aesthetic cues from Apple hardware, favoring minimalist exterior designs and interior accents.

For more:
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