At the company's World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) this morning, Apple announced "iOS in the car", a major step forward for integrating your iPhone or iPad’s display with the head-end units of a connected vehicle.
Debuting with the release of iOS 7 later this year, the “in the car” system will allow car manufacturers to sync with iDevices for full maps, messages, music and other system integration.
The idea is to turn your car’s display unit into a secondary screen for your iPhone. This way Apple maps, messages and music applications can be fully integrated.
“Ninety-five per cent of cars sold today have integrated music playback and control from an iOS device, but we want to take this integration to another level,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of software and services, who also sits on the board of Ferrari.
Siri will also be further enhanced as part of the update, which will allow more hands-free control while behind the wheel.
The question still remains as to whether Apple will make APIs available for third party developers for car application integration. This would allow a horde of new car apps that could enhance the driving experience.
Timing for the new iOS integration is still unknown and given the secrecy of Apple’s development work, none of the car companies CarAdvice contacted this morning could give a definite timeline for the system’s integration for Australian-delivered vehicles. We suspect this will not be the case until at least early 2014.
Nonetheless, Apple did list the following car companies as partners for iOS in the car system: Mercedes-Benz, Honda, Nissan, Ferrari, General Motors, Kia, Hyundai, Volvo and Jaguar, among others.
Do you think further integration of cars and smartphones is a safety enhancement, or one that will lead to more distractions for drivers?
Update: Kia Global has responded to iOS in the car integration with the following statement: "We look forward to bringing iOS in-car integration to our line up next year. With enhanced in-car integration, users will be able to interact using their voice with Siri or the car's built-in controls to make phone calls, access their music, send and receive messages and get directions. Supporting cars will be available starting in 2014."
However this is not clarification for the Australian market.