There seems to be plenty of evidence stacking up indicating Apple will soon become a serious player in the automotive industry.
There has been talk of Apple becoming involved with in-dash technology after they forged a close with Ferrari. The high-end luxury car maker revealed they are currently discussing car infotainment systems with Apple, and Apple executive Eddy Cue has joined Ferrari’s board of directors. On top of this, Apple has posted job openings on their company website involving auto-related technology, such as a listing for an In-Car Software Quality Assurance Manager. “Apple is looking for a Software Quality Assurance Manager to drive iPod/iPhone/iPad integration testing with car stereos,” the listing reads. “In this role you will be a hands-on manager, guiding the team to test car stereo compatibility with iOS products.” There are also listings posted seeking employees for the company’s iOS Communication Applications Group, concentrating on “iOS Car Services.” This listing suggests that if Apple is intending to further its development in the automotive industry, it will most likely do so using the iOS platform.
Many automobiles have offered Apple integration in the past, featuring dashboard audio compatibility with both iPods and iPhones. With the release last year of Siri Hands-Free, Apple allows the driver control of their phone almost completely hands-free, using only their voice to control most of the iPhone’s functions. This release was a clear indication that Apple is beginning to show a renewed interest in automotive integration. Many auto makers have already showed interest in Siri Hands-Free and will be integrating it into their systems. It is no surprise many new vehicles will offer support for the hands-free feature.
To date, Apple has merely accessorized automotive audio systems and dashboard control units with their portable accessories. However, some have speculated that Apple could create an entire vehicle entertainment and navigation suite that would replace current offerings from car makers. The company has also applied for patents which give evidence for further automobile integration, such as a versatile magnetic stand that could hold an iPad from the ceiling of a vehicle to act as a navigation or entertainment system. It is more than likely we will see Apple take a leap from outside the living room and onto the road in the near future.