Whatever Apple may be planning for the coming world of autonomous vehicles, new reports this week suggest the company could also be cooking up new advancements in a more familiar arena: infotainment.
The tech giant already offers the Carplay connectivity platform, which debuted in 2014 as an advanced take on the earlier Siri Eyes Free system, but it is now believed that Apple is deep into development on a technology that could revolutionise head-up displays.
A number of carmakers already offer such systems, usually designed around a display in the top of the dash which reflects crucial driving information onto the windscreen or a fighter jet-like panel in front of the driver.
Other auto brands have begun to experiment with even larger examples of the technology, and Jaguar has detailed its own ideas in recent years – including a race-focused Virtual Windscreen and a ‘Follow Me’ navigation display.
But, according to a report this week by Global Equities Research technology analyst Trip Chowdhry, Apple is now working on a gesture-based device “somewhat resembling a car windshield or curved display”, with versions ranging in size from 27 to 50 inches (685-1270mm).
It is possible that this device, which Chowdhry said “acts like a HUD” (head-up display), could feature in a next-generation vehicle either of Apple’s making or in partnership with established automotive brands.
Of course, it could also be a hint that Apple is planning something for the living room or studio, well away from the auto world; a television or new-generation computer display.
If the reported system is bound for service in the automotive world, it could be viewed as an evolved version of Carplay, displaying important information across the width of a vehicle’s windscreen and adding the benefit of mid-air gesture control.
The latter has already begun to appear in high-end vehicles, including BMW’s new 7 Series sedan that will go on sale in Australia in the months ahead.
Talk of a clever new Apple display should be taken with a grain of salt, however, with Chowdhry’s report citing no official source.
There’s little doubt that Apple has the funds and resources to get such a system into production, but if a large head-up display is in the works, it would be more likely to debut in Apple’s own car. If indeed that is truly happening.