Apple dials up effort to meld iPhone with cars

Mar 03, 2014 by Michael Liedtke
A woman displays "Siri", voice-activated assistant technology, on an Apple iPhone 4S in Taipei on July 30, 2012

Apple is accelerating the race to make smartphone applications easier and safer to use in cars.

Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo are previewing Apple's iPhone technology for cars this week at an auto show in Geneva.

The partnerships give Apple an early lead over Google's loosely knit family of Android phones in a duel to make mobile applications more accessible while drivers are behind the wheel. Apple's iOS mobile software and Google's Android operating system power most of the smartphones in the world.

Just two months ago, Google Inc. announced it is working with several major automakers to turn Android phones into an essential part of cars. Google hopes to finish work on its system for tethering Android phones to cars by the end of this year.

Apple Inc. announced its automobile ambitions nine months ago when it unveiled its "iOS in the Car" initiative—a reference to the operating system that powers the iPhone and iPad.

Now that the idea is moving closer to reality, Apple is renaming the technology "CarPlay."

The system announced Monday enables iPhones to plug into cars so drivers can call up maps, make calls and request music with voice commands or a touch on a vehicle's dashboard screen.

By making smartphones work more seamlessly with automobiles, both Apple and Google are hoping to immerse their services even deeper into peoples' lives. In doing so, the companies expect to make money by selling advertising, applications and upgrades on smartphones that will become even more indispensable.

"IPhone users always want their content at their fingertips and CarPlay lets drivers use their iPhone in the car with minimized distraction," said Greg Joswiak, Apple's vice president of iPhone and iOS product marketing.

Automakers are hoping vehicles that are compatible with the top-selling smartphones will be easier to sell to consumers who can't fathom living without the devices.

Cars of recent vintage increasingly feature electronics designed to cater to drivers' high-tech desires, but those systems still haven't attracted a widespread following. That has led more automakers to conclude that it makes sense to work directly with technology companies such as Apple and Google to turn their cars into smartphone extensions.

CarPlay requires Apple's latest mobile software, iOS 7, and an iPhone 5, 5C or 5S.

Ferrari is previewing CarPlay on its four-wheel-drive FF model. Volvo plans to feature the iPhone system in its redesigned Volvo XC90 sports utility vehicle. Mercedes-Benz isn't disclosing which models will get CarPlay, but expects both its S-Class large sedan and C-Class midsize sedan should be compatible with the system.

A long list of other automakers, including General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and Honda, also are drawing up plans for CarPlay, according to Apple.

So far, GM, Honda, Hyundai and Audi have signed up for Google's "Open Automotive Alliance" for Android.

GM and Honda declined to comment on their CarPlay plans.

Ford said it will deploy CarPlay as one of several options for making its cars work more smoothly with smartphones. The automaker already features a voice-control system called "Sync" made by Microsoft Corp. in some of its cars. Ford also offers its own touch-screen technology in its vehicles.

The different choices are designed to ensure "you don't have to make a $30,000 decision about what car you're going to buy based on your $200 smartphone," said Raj Nair, Ford's global product development chief.

Explore further: Daimler job ads suggest Mercedes cars soon to have Android/iOS phones integrated into dash

5 /5 (2 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

GM cars to use Apple voice assistant Siri

Nov 27, 2012

General Motors said Tuesday it will integrate Apple's voice-activated software Siri in some of its cars next year to allow iPhone users to perform hands-free tasks.

Recommended for you

GoGlove wearable aims to control life's soundtracks

Nov 26, 2014

Technology creatives are seeing the key attraction in wearables as being in solutions that save the user from fumbling around with the phone to make app adjustments or changes, or from repeatedly taking it ...

Amazon cuts Fire phone price to ignite sales

Nov 26, 2014

Amazon on Wednesday slashed the price of Fire mobile phones that stalled after launch early this year, becoming a drag on the US online retail titan's bottom line.

Tech review: Another year, another iPad

Nov 25, 2014

Some years, Apple introduces a new version of a product and the world rejoices. Other years, the updates are more under the hood, but they still sell a ton.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.