In April 2012, an Apple board member told Fast Company that Steve Jobs had a dream of creating an iCar. On Monday, the CarPlay was revealed at the Geneva Motor Show, inching the late great inventors dream closer to reality.
The main goal of CarPlay is, of course, to allow people to drive with what Greg Joswiak, vice president of iPhone and iOS Product Marketing, calls “minimized distraction.” Drivers will use Google Maps, listen to music and access voice-mail through touch or Siri, which can be turned on by a voice control button on the steering wheel. The program can also be controlled from the native interface of the car.
Taking the technology to the next level, CarPlay will also look at recent trips, via emails, text and contacts, and provide directions to an anticipated destination, along with conditions of the traffic and an approximate time of arrival.
CarPlay will begin shipping in 2014. It will be introduced first to luxury vehicles Mercedes-Benz, Volvo and Ferrari.
Various other automobiles are expected to offer the system in the future, including Ford, Honda, BMW group, General Motors, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Kia, Jaguar Land Rover, Hyundai, Toyota, Suzuki, Ford and Subaru.
CarPlay is based on Blackberry’s QNX, which existed before smart phone software ever became integrated with cars, as an infotainment powering system for various vehicles. Paul Leroux of QNX emphasizes in his blog Android’s deep partnership with Apple, now extended by CarPlay.
The system does not come without competition. Google is, according to various media reports, partnering its Android system with Hyundai, Vauxhaull, and Honda.
All of these operating systems spurred on by CarPlay are inching Steve Jobs dream of an iCar a step closer to reality. After revolutionizing music players, phones and tablets, the inventor and entrepreneur will unfortunately never get to head or see his dream of saving the car industry. An industry which an Apple board member called a “tragedy” while questioning, “who is designing the cars?”
Just two weeks ago the San Francisco Chronicle reported that the head of mergers and acquisitions for Apple met with the CEO of Tesla, an electric car maker. The newspaper noted there is no evidence or any confirmation. However, it would not come as a surprise if the alleged meeting did occur due to various reasons.
Apple and Tesla are both located in Silicon Valley and are two highly technologically innovative companies. Moreover, the man who designed Apple store was hired by Tesla in 2010 to create a similar concept for Tesla’s retail concept. This is in addition to the hiring of Doug Field as Tesla’s head of vehicle programs. Fields was a former Vice-president of Apple’s hardware engineering and a big contributor to the development of the iMac and Macbook Air, among other products.
The thought of Apple partnering or purchasing an electric car company has left many car enthusiasts salivating. Analysts have said that if the iCar ever comes to fruition, already inching closer to reality, the North American automobile industry will be reinvigorated and catapulted into a global player.
By Kollin Lore