During the WWDC keynote this morning, Apple revealed that iOS 6 would include automotive support. The integration into vehicles included a partnership with a number of auto manufacturers including BMW, Land Rover, Mercedes Benz, Jaguar, Audi, Toyota, Honda, Chrysler. It was clear that one big Auto brand was missing, Ford.
Ford has been integrating voice commands and smartphone integration into their vehicles for years with Ford SYNC built on top of the Windows Automotive platform. Having a button on the steering wheel to activate Siri outlined this morning mirrors that of
When questioned on how they felt on Apple’s announcement this morning, Ford’s Global Digital & Multimedia Communications Manager Scott Monty responded:
It’s great to see others supporting voice recognition for control of mobile phones inside the car. Five years ago, Ford was first to introduce the “brought-in” device connectivity strategy with SYNC and today, we have more than 4,000,000 cars on the road that allow voice control of the devices that our customers love. SYNC will continue to lead the industry by delivering a full-function, voice-enabled connectivity experience available to all customers – regardless of what phone they own.
Personally I’m excited to see iOS add automotive functionality, however the key to moving into the auto industry may be a question of hardware, not software. Companies are spending a lot of money to solve the distracted driver problem and having the ability to interact with your phone without taking your hands off the wheel is a great thing. The problem is not in new cars, but the millions of cars without integrated systems.
Unfortunately Apple’s thriving accessory market still doesn’t contain a decent single DIN head unit that contains an iPhone dock. What needs to be created is a simple head unit with an ejecting tray that contains a 30-pin iPhone connector. When the iPhone is docked, the current audio should seamlessly be pushed through the car’s speakers, just like your bedside clock. This should also provide power and avoid a slew of cables (power + 3.5mm audio) traversing its way through the console to a separate vent mounted dock.
While the launch of applications via voice has been a feature Android users often tout, in the car it could actually be seriously useful. Its now down to application developers to integrate Siri into their apps and make iPhone operation in our cars as safe as possible.