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Transportation Apple

Why Apple's Next Revolution Should Be In Your Car 293

Posted by Soulskill
from the just-one-button dept.
New submitter eetc writes "This article surveys the sorry state of car makers' stereo and navigation systems: 'It's clear that most of the auto companies that offer more than a car stereo want to lock you into their interface and services — as awful as they are. The rest don't care. The aftermarket stereo and nav systems are no better. Stuffed with even more buttons and light-show gewgaws, they're sure to keep your eyes off the road and may not work easily with your stuff. Add to that mix the split focus of also having to use a separate GPS unit in most vehicles, and you have to wonder what keeps our roads so relatively safe.' The answer in one word: iCar. This is just the sort of broken market that Apple specializes in taking over."
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Why Apple's Next Revolution Should Be In Your Car

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  • by crazyjj (2598719) * on Friday April 27, 2012 @03:07PM (#39824727)

    Driver: Siri, why is the car slowing down?

    Siri: I'm sorry, but this road has not been pre-approved by Apple for use with your Apple vehicle. Would you like me to suggest an alternate, approved route?

    Driver: Wait, you can control my car...the WHOLE car? Which one of these wires will unplug you anyway, bitch? ....Hey, what is that coming out of the air conditioner?

    Siri: I've detected an illegal attempt at vehicle modification. This will help you relax while I drive you to the Apple Store for sanction.

    Driver: waait..iah...stoppp

    Siri: Your end-user license agreement specifically stated at purchase that your Apple vehicle was to be used for the sole purpose of engaging in Apple approved activities. Any attempt to modify this car is a violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and may result in penalties from a fine to death.

    Driver: deaaathhh?

    Siri: Penalty will be determined through third-party mediation, which you also agreed to at purchase. Is there anything else I can help you with today?

  • by bazmail (764941) on Friday April 27, 2012 @03:09PM (#39824753)
    they said that about the living room a few years ago, what happened there?
    • by King_TJ (85913) on Friday April 27, 2012 @03:59PM (#39825513) Journal

      Umm... Apple never quite succeeded in that "changing the living room" promise not because of any real failure on their own part, but because of the content industry's stubbornness. When Apple first introduced legally purchasable digital music downloads from the iTunes store, they were able to talk the recording industry into (very tentatively at first) going along with them on it. In fact, just to get THAT much done, they had to code in concessions that frustrate users to his day (such as not being allowed to sync music BACK to a copy of iTunes FROM your iPod).

      By the time they were interested in TV content, THAT industry dug in their heels, determined not to lose control over some of their content and advertising revenue to Apple, who had now proven they could make BIG money off this stuff, once you gave them the opportunity.

      Netflix is another company struggling with the same issues.... If one of these streaming services REALLY took off (and Apple, of all people, might just be able to do it, since they're known for building devices easy enough to use so the average Joe wouldn't be intimidated by them), it would put an end to the entire cable TV industry as we know it. No longer could they FORCE you to take a bunch of channels you didn't want in a package to get others you wanted. No longer would people be content to pay for "premium" channels like HBO or Showtime. Instead, they'd just pay for specific shows they offered that they liked. (Sounds a little bit like what happened with music, doesn't it? People could just pay 99 cents for that one good single on an album instead of being forced to buy the whole thing for $13.99.) And don't forget - the satellite and cable providers currently make some nice extra revenue charging extra for additional boxes or boxes with DVR recording capabilities in them. That would all be taken away from them as well.

    • apple is dead in the living room. Get it? :)

  • by Toe, The (545098) on Friday April 27, 2012 @03:12PM (#39824787)

    Stereo? GPS? Car companies can't even make a cup holder that actually works.

    It is strange, because as far as I can tell, people have been taking beverages into automobiles for at least... 12 years... perhaps more? And yet, car companies keep trying to reinvent the cup holder, usually horribly.

    WTF? How can it be that difficult to engineer something so simple after so much time?

    • by berashith (222128)

      I know that I once had a Mazda that had cup holders that only tripped the cup every time you turned. A little wire popped up when you opened the cup holder, and didnt go near high enough to stop anything. Well, almost anything. It turns out that Mazda was willing to sell a coffee cup that fit perfectly within the shape of this holder to never fall out. To the rest of us cheap suckers that refused their awesomely engineered cup, we could use our laps.

    • by Reece400 (584378) <Reece400@hotmail.com> on Friday April 27, 2012 @03:34PM (#39825105)
      My Oldsmobile Alero had a cup holder right in front of the gear shift - if you put anything larger than a small 12oz cup in it you'd either crush it when you tried putting the vehicle into park or not get that far and end up with your vehicle in reverse. The cup holders in the back seat were semi circle shaped with little rubber flaps that were supposed to hold the cup - they didn't. I don't understand how anyone at GM could have though this was a good idea, but somehow they decided to design it this way anyway. Thinking back, I'm amazed it took as long as it did for GM to go bankrupt.
    • Most car engineers are from countries that don't drink while driving - e.g. Japan, Germany.
      • by wilson_c (322811)

        Not entirely true. Japanese and German car companies have American design studios. BMW design was headed by an American for years. American car companies often have overseas design studios. Ford's best work now is coming out of their Paris studio.

    • by fermion (181285)
      You obviously have never seen the cup holders in a mercedes. A relative was looking at a E class, the cup holder magically slide out, formed, and accepted the biggest drink. The SLK slides out of the console to hold two drinks.

      Of course the question is a car a travel utility or a living room. Given the number of accidents I see in the morning, and the fact that most of friends, careful drivers, have never had one, I image most people think it is the later and want fully entertaiment system and ktichen.

    • by uncqual (836337)
      Sigh... I have a Subaru that has cup holders right above the audio control panel.

      So if you use the cup holder and want to change the audio settings, you have to:
      • + Remove the cup (and put it somewhere since it's customary to keep a hand on the wheel and you will need one hand for the following steps),
      • + Push the cup holder in,
      • + Make the necessary audio setting changes,
      • + Pop the cup holder back out, and
      • + Replace the cup in the cup holder.

      Probably, they should have just added some sensors and, wh

      • by mcmonkey (96054)

        Do you have one of the Subarus with the cup holder that pops out of the dash?

        If so, not only do you not exaggerate, but you've left out the part about blocking the climate controls as well. My ru was a great car. Cup holder was the only thing about it I didn't like.

        For the sounds system, you can try to become a 'touch typist' and work the controls without seeing them, but if you want to turn on the A/C or adjust the temperature, you pretty much have to hold your cup one hand while adjusting the controls w

        • by uncqual (836337)
          Yep - it's an older model now. Very true that climate control has the same problem!

          I'm okay with knee steering -- but it seems to alarm some of my passengers for some reason.

          Oh, one other thing to hate about my model is the damn "turn on the tail/parking lights" switch on top of the steering column. Every so often the car wash guys switch it on while wiping the interior and, if I don't notice it (such as when parking it outside in bright sunlight), sure enough -- dead battery next day. They seem to ha
    • by Yvan256 (722131) on Friday April 27, 2012 @04:32PM (#39825977) Homepage Journal

      Cup holder? Dude, that's the CD tray!

    • by gorzek (647352)

      Ain't that the truth.

      This past weekend, I rented a late model Ford Focus. (I wasn't picky about the car, I just wanted a small, cheap one to get around in.)

      It had two interactive displays: one in the dash (which mostly showed fuel economy information) and one in the center console (used for media functionality.) Both had such brain-damaged interfaces I felt like I'd have to read a 100-page manual just to figure out how to change the radio station. Nothing about them was the least bit intuitive, feedback was

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 27, 2012 @03:12PM (#39824789)

    What's wrong with getting a bit old fashioned - volume control know, tuning knob, slide controls or dials to control the heater (back to the '80's anyone).

    Anytime you get buttons involved and a touch screen you need to look at it. Any buttons should have a unique "feel/texture" so you can differentiate by touch without looking.

    • In other words, haptic controls make for less driver distraction.

      That's exactly why I ditched my Philips Pronto remote for something with discrete buttons... and at least in front of my TV, I'm not driving (unless it's a game on the Xbox)

    • by BoberFett (127537)

      This. I've played with a couple of touchscreen systems and they're horrible, IMO. There's something to be said for tactile feedback.

      • by AngryDeuce (2205124) on Friday April 27, 2012 @04:22PM (#39825833)

        Not only that, but when they fucking break (and they will), how much is that going to cost to replace? $2,000?

        A friend of mine had an SUV with a digital dash (think it was a Jeep but I don't remember), it was just so fucking cool...until it died on her. Then she took it in and found out the replacement alone was gonna cost a grand, not to mention how labor intensive it was going to be (probably another grand on top). It was literally more expensive than the value of the vehicle as a whole (she put a lot of miles on that car). She obviously said, "uh, no thanks" and, for a while, she literally had no instrumentation in her car at all and had to eyeball her speed, get gas every few days to make sure she didn't run out...

        While a car is under warranty, great, but some of us like to drive cars until they die, not trade them in every other fucking year.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 27, 2012 @03:13PM (#39824805)

    Wordpress founder Matt Mullenweg in October 2011:
    http://ma.tt/2011/10/whats-next-for-apple/

    "This is the most far-out, but I think most certain. Voice-controlled search through Siri and Apple Maps provide the hands-free framework for a rich interactive experience while driving. Walk down the car stereo aisle in Best Buy and see what $800 gets you, or a $300 GPS from Garmin, vs an iPad or iPhone. The screens feel like a TI-92 calculator. The typography makes my eyes bleed. I find it morally reprehensible how bad these products are because it’s one of the areas of technology where a bad interface is most directly tied to injuries and deaths. Car folks are making their iPhone/iPod integrations better and better, which may be a glass of ice water in hell, but they’ll never make the jump to providing a beautiful marriage of media, search, and navigation that a great in-car experience needs. Right now you can spend 110k on a Tesla Roadster, a car of the future, and for an additional $4,500 (9 iPads!) get this Alpine head unit. (Watch that video and try not to laugh at how bad the interface is.) Retail it only sets you back 1.4 iPads. That’s just sad."

    I think if editors are going to post non-news blog opinion pieces, they have a duty to do a little due diligence--is the argument novel, or have other people made it before? Is it well explained, or not? Is Galen Gruman a heavyweight? Is Infoworld? Are their arguments likely to provoke further discussion amongst heavyweights?

    Not to say that the issue is any less germane than it was in October 2011, but just accepting a link because it was submitted and it seems reasonable enough is not good editorial practice.

    The article linked doesn't really add anything to the one I just posted, it's split over two pages for extra ad impressions, and the site is incredibly visually busy filled with social widgets and tags and ads and everything, in contrast to the one I posted which is clean.

    • I watched the video of that Alpine unit [youtube.com]. That any manufacturer would release a device with an interface that slow in 2010 is insane. That it's cumbersome as well is typical, but that doesn't make it any more excusable. And I'm not bashing Alpine, all of my aftermarket car stereos have been Alpine. That's simply a product that needs to go back for a major rework of it's entire UI.

  • by jmorris42 (1458) * <jmorris@beauTOKYO.org minus city> on Friday April 27, 2012 @03:13PM (#39824807)

    > It's clear that most of the auto companies that offer more than a car stereo
    > want to lock you into their interface and services — as awful as they are.

    Uh huh. So if Apple locked you into THEIR interface and services it would be insanely great and you would be lining up for it.

    P.T. Barnum was an optimist.

    • by HCase (533294) on Friday April 27, 2012 @03:20PM (#39824905)

      I'm not entirely sure you understand the difference here. You do realize the auto company interfaces don't have images of fruit stamped into them? Right?

    • Navtec via manufacturer - $1200 navigation package plus $100/yr map update for once a year data through a dealership.
      Navtec via iOS - $20-40 North American Maps and Google local search integration, $20/yr for subscription for quarterly map update subscription, delivered automatically.

      Sorry, I'm pretty sure I know which one I'm gonna choose to have lock me in.

      • Navtec via manufacturer - $1200 navigation package plus $100/yr map update for once a year data through a dealership.
        Navtec via iOS - $20-40 North American Maps and Google local search integration, $20/yr for subscription for quarterly map update subscription, delivered automatically.

        The auto manufacturer provides the hardware. To be fair you need to add in the cost of an iPad to the Apple total.

        For my car, all nav system updates are free. My last one included a free car wash and a free loaner for the day. You're paying $20 more for less service.

    • by LanMan04 (790429)

      Uh huh. So if Apple locked you into THEIR interface and services it would be insanely great and you would be lining up for it.

      If our ONLY two choices are (1) being locked into a shitty interface provided by Ford/Honda/etc, or (2) being locked into an awesome (or at least better) interface provided be Apple....well, I pick the later.

    • Uh huh. So if Apple locked you into THEIR interface and services it would be insanely great and you would be lining up for it.

      You mean the same way Apple locked the Zune and Android into using Apple's USB interface, and you into only buying music from the iTunes store?

  • by Lumpy (12016) on Friday April 27, 2012 @03:15PM (#39824827) Homepage

    I already have that in my car. anyone that has bought an aftermarket stereo that has a high level of iphone integration already has these features.

    Hell Kenwood has one that now mirrors the iphone screen on the dash display, it's been out for a year now... Did the article author even look to se what was already on the market?

    What I want is a genuine Android based car stereo. Unfortunately anything out there is all locked down wierd like the Parrot Android car stereo or a complete steaming turd from china running a 500mhz processor and runs WinCE for the nav section.

    • by Kindgott (165758)
      If you're a bit more daring, you can check out sites such as mp3car.com [mp3car.com] or other "carputer" resources and try to roll your own. Looking at mp3car.com now, I am slightly disappointed. They used to be more of a "how to" with a shop section, and they seem to have transformed into a shop with a forums section.
  • How will Apple be able to leverage such a system to sell third-party content and take their cut?

  • Mirror the display, mic, speakers and touch screen of your smartphone. Done. Was that so hard? If you want to show off you can even make it so you enable voice commands by default and integrate with steering wheel stereo controls.

  • Fuck no (Score:4, Interesting)

    by smooth wombat (796938) on Friday April 27, 2012 @03:19PM (#39824879) Homepage Journal

    I don't want integration. I want my radio to be my radio and my GPS (if I had a GPS) to be my GPS. I don't want co-mingling of technology.

    Haven't we learned anything from Battlestar Galactica? You don't network everything. You keep things separate.

    Or, if you snerk at that example, haven't we learned anything from Unix/Linux where each piece does it's thing, and ONLY it's thing?

    We've seen what an absolute shitfest things become when we try to make things "new and improved", "Now with more features you have to look at and try to decipher while driving!" Hey Ford, how's that wonderful technological tour de force radio and navigation interface working out?

    Engineers and developers need to get their heads out of their asses and go back to the ultimate rule: KISS

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by JDG1980 (2438906)

      Haven't we learned anything from Battlestar Galactica? You don't network everything. You keep things separate. Or, if you snerk at that example, haven't we learned anything from Unix/Linux where each piece does it's thing, and ONLY it's thing?

      So your two examples are a sci-fi TV show, and an OS that works well on servers but is an absolute failure on the desktop because its "do one thing well" mentality creates fragmentation and doesn't fit the needs or expectations of average users.

    • by glueball (232492)

      Mod this guy up.

      Apple should forget the car market. It's the wrong market to solve. I know they won't listen to me in my armchair, but doesn't mean I'm not right.

      Apple should go after the Healthcare market. I work in healthcare and there is no reason for me to have to make 27 mouse click, 2 tab-folder re-sizes, enter my password 3 times and then fight with an entry screen that is 3" x 3" on my 21" monitor to enter into the Electronic Medical System that the patient has a new complaint. This, my friends,

      • by Vancorps (746090)

        It is unlikely that Apple could fix this. The majority of those UI issues crop up because you're talking to multiple different systems. Apple doesn't integrate well with others, they force others to integrate with them. They would have to have a complete stack of software and would still run into compliance issues as they try to keep their software proprietary preventing others from becoming compatible. In other words, say good bye to sending medical records to another hospital unless they too are running a

  • by alen (225700) on Friday April 27, 2012 @03:20PM (#39824913)

    My honda CR-V EX-L has a USB port. i plug my iphone in, pick a playlist and let it play. i can use the steering wheel buttons to skip songs. also works with pandora and slacker radio. spotify is a little buggy.

    it also works with Zune and plain USB flash drives. android not so good because it's a plain vanilla micro-USB port on their phones

    and i'll take my iphone GPS over a car GPS. Waze on iphone is free, not $2000. and free traffic info.

    • My wife's Jetta has Bluetooth built in, which means all I have to do after pairing my DX with her car is get in it and hit play on the stereo (or give the equivalent voice command). Surprisingly, it also has an SD slot in the dash.

      The only thing I would change with her system is the inability to share my phone's screen with the 6" touchscreen built into the dash... not that it's really an issue, I would just like to be able to watch YouTube videos on a slightly larger screen while I'm waiting for her to fi
  • watch how you hold that steering wheeeeeeeel
  • Actually, Microsoft. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AdrianKemp (1988748) on Friday April 27, 2012 @03:23PM (#39824945)

    I have ford SYNC (microsoft SYNC), and it's fucking brilliant.

    I never touch my stereo, between the 4 steering wheel controls (volume,next/prev,voice command,hang up) and the frankly kick-ass voice control I just never need to.

    I never have had it misdial, only very occasionally does it have trouble when I ask for a specific album (and then only when it's not a native language name) and generally just had it be all sorts of awesome all the time.

    So no, Apple can sit this one out (and this is coming from someone who's entire computing existence is apple, I own the iphone/ipad/appletv/macbook/imac). Microsoft has done a great job already.

    • by alphax45 (675119)
      You beat me to it by two minutes!
    • by colinnwn (677715)
      I used it for a week in a rental 2012 Focus. I loved the car, but thought Ford SYNC was a steaming pile of a turd. I'd pay them to take it out of my car. It's been so long ago (2012's had just come out and I had to be the first renter of it), that I don't remember all of my complaints. But I do remember that the controls were slow and inconsistient, and to do simple actions required many button presses and much more attention than a carputer should require - ala so many Microsoft apps.
    • Since that was half the point of this story and all.

      So no, Apple can sit this one out

      Why - were they holding a gun to your head to force you to buy an iPod instead of a Zune, or an iPhone instead of an Android?

    • by wilson_c (322811)

      I have had the opposite experience with Sync. It is buggy, has mediocre voice control (when it works at all), and the physical controls were clearly designed by someone who has never given a moment's thought to UI. It was actually a big selling point to me when I got my car, but 1 1/2 years in, I'm looking to replace it with something reliable and pleasant to use.

  • by alphax45 (675119) <kyle.alfred@gCOF ... m minus caffeine> on Friday April 27, 2012 @03:25PM (#39824967)
    Ford Sync is great.

    They realize that your car is around a lot longer than your phone so in a lot of ways your smartphone is really the brains, the car is just the interface. The voice works surprisingly well. They have all kinds of API's that let apps on your phone be controlled by your voice via the Sync. I know that Microsoft designed it, but I like it a lot. 2011 Ford Fusion SE is the car I have.
  • Auto manufacturers have very little to gain from good sound in cars, or keeping up with hot stuff in the industry. They're not organized to be able to update and upgrade on a continual basis because you need a car for transporatation, and them putting hundreds of thousands of man hours a year into an constantly updated interface will not sell you another car. In an industry where a small plastic vent costs less than a dollar to make, and retails at $40 - and it only sold at retail - a 99c app or a $20 map a

  • Apple wants to control the total user experience. Can you imagine Apple letting a company as clueless as GM integrate Apple products into their cars? They would eventually produce the iVega [wikipedia.org]. I can't see Apple allowing another company to have that much influence on their products' success.
  • "It's clear that most of the auto companies that offer more than a car stereo want to lock you into their interface and services"

    It's a good thing Apple never tries to do that ...

  • If like the rest of their devices it is totally useless after 2 years, then no thanks!

  • I was just thinking this on the drive into work today.

    Would be nice to listen to the same radio station all the way, but reception cuts out half way up. My car is new enough to have an iPod interface, but new enough to not support an iPhone or similar device with in-dashboard controls.

    A newer interface would allow me to stream a radio station through my phone (and maybe use google maps from the phone) via the car controls.

    How about an API that allows this to be done with any phone via USB? No need for loc

  • "Why Apple's Next Evolution Should Be In Your Car"

    --
    Shut up, you American. You Americans, all you do is talk, and talk, and say "let me tell you something" and "I just wanna say." Well, you're dead now, so shut up.
  • by swb (14022) on Friday April 27, 2012 @03:35PM (#39825117)

    I'd like to see the dock connector updated so that the entire iPhone display and touch interface could be used on the car's in-dash display, reformatted and enlarged if necessary to fit the screen's native display resolution and orientation, along with all the other expected integration like phone, audio and video.

    Apple could license this interface to car makers for free and then help them create apps specific to the car, binding the carmaker to Apple and making consumers shop for iPhone integration specifically.

    It would also get Apple closer to the point where the iPhone was really a portable computer that could be docked and then taken anywhere.

  • When Apple's iPhones had bad reception because the users held it a certain way, Job's only reply was 'don't hold it that way'. Do I really want this approach to apply to my "i-vehicle" when driving and my life is at stake?
  • I've thought many times that there must be a huge, untapped market for a line of electronics for grown ups. Try searching for a shelf stereo system, for example. Most of it is garish crap, burdened with all kinds of obscure functionality most people will never use. There are systems more minimal and adult-looking, but "minimialist" doesn't mean "user-friendly." What I'm talking about is a system that looks nice, is of relatively good quality, and for which you never need to read the manual. It's just obvious how to work it.

    Car stereos are the same way. They almost all sacrifice function for style.

    And alarm clocks. How about an alarm clock with a panel that you flip open, and behind it is a simple, phone style number pad. To set alarm 1, you press

    [Set Alarm 1] - [7] - [3] - [0] - [am] - [Enter], then turn a little analog dial to set the volume, and flip the panel closed.

    Done.

    lllll Alaska Jack

  • I've been saying this exact same thing for a long time now!

    Year after year, we see enthusiasts trying to shoehorn computer gear into their vehicles in creative ways, to essentially check off the same old "want list" we've always had -- yet auto makers never seem to really catch on. (And before you say "What about Ford Sync?", I'd argue all they did was hand things over to Microsoft after exhibiting absolutely NO clue about what the public wanted in a car stereo or modernized dashboard up to that point. Eve

    • by medcalf (68293)
      Yup. I recently bought a car with a double DIN head unit, and would love to trade it out with something that has the radio, GPS plus weather maps, OBD II, preferably XM, preferably comparative gas station search, and either AUX or USB to plug in my phone for music. My choices are most of these with a crappy interface for $1500 plus, or roll my own with about $800 in hardware and a lot of time. I'd love for Apple to jump into the aftermarket in car PC space. Thing is, it's probably too small of a market for
    • by swb (14022)

      I just want a slot in the dash I can insert my iPhone and have the touchscreen on my in-dash display, with audio integrated with the stereo and the steering wheel controls.

  • by Annirak (181684) on Friday April 27, 2012 @03:47PM (#39825325)

    Apple's speciality is in seamless UI's. While people seem to like this for mobile phones and tablets, it's not the right solution for a car. Cars require tactile interfaces so that they can be navigated using touch while the driver keeps his eyes on the road. Apple has the potential to bypass this concern using Siri, but that comes with additional problems.

    Siri and the maps used by Apple for GPS navigation are both delivered via cellular connection, which would imply that a driver would lose all voice recognition while driving outside the range of cellphone towers--e.g. through the mountains. The GPS navigation is a similar problem. Since the navigation data is delivered via cellular data, you would lose navigation in the mountains.

    Much as I hate to admit it, I would prefer the Microsoft self-contained automotive voice recognition system to getting Apple iCars. Ford has demonstrated those in the past. I've also seen a reasonable implementation (non-Microsoft) on an Acura about five years ago. I'm not sure that this is a market where we should care about fragmentation. Just don't buy a car with a UI you don't like.

    • I presume you haven't seen the $20 Navtec app for iOS? You can download and store all the maps you've bought (or coast-to-cost) so that no internet connx is required for use. Not only is it like having the most awesome standalone GPS in the word (a 10" one for those of us with iPads, btw), but it has lane assist, subscription content for map updates, huge POI database, Google Local search integration (for when you're on line), and a whole host of preferences. I'm pretty sure it has real-time traffic when y

  • by markdavis (642305) on Friday April 27, 2012 @03:49PM (#39825373)

    >"offer more than a car stereo want to lock you into their interface and services"
    >"The answer in one word: iCar."

    Yeah right. Because Apple is a paragon of openness and anti-lockin combined with low prices and choice! No thanks.

    How about at least AndroidCar? Or maybe LinuxCar. Perhaps then at least other manufacturers can be involved.

  • There are excellent in-car media and stereo systems out there, it all depends on what automaker you're looking at. The Japanese generally pack their cars full of buttons in an attempt to account for every little function. Americans are decent, but it depends on the car and the automaker. They generally suffer from cost-cutting measures and insufficient thinking about how a driver interacts with the car. It's worse when the automaker goes through third-party vendors for their hardware. Too many of those comp

  • This issue isn't resolvable by Apple, it is resolvable with a true heads-up display and voice control interface that actually works. The technology for the former is long since there -- it just needs to be implemented. The technology for the latter is there but sucks. All we need is a car that understands you when you say "find 3218 Oak Lane and show me how to get there". What we've got is Garmin or the Prius navigator and silly keyboarding displays that you can't use while driving and that are a true p
  • The article expresses the same lament that car buyers have had since the invention of the automobile, every manufacturer does things differently. A car is the ultimate closed ecosystem. Each manufacturer has unique parts, control layouts, maintenance codes, etc. This is done on purpose to generate additional cash flows from maintenance and repairs.

    As for integrating the car entertainment and video systems, I recently bought a Kenwood DNX9990HD eXcelon 2-DIN Multimedia DVD Receiver With Navigation/Bluetooth/

  • I don't need anything changing in the interface of my car. what i need is a better, cleaner, less expensive power source for it.
  • Spot on; I had a rant / post about this back in 2009 (that I had drafted years earlier)... hoping Apple would take over this market:
    http://tronsterhartley.blogspot.com/2009/01/starting-to-clean-out-my-many-drafts-of.html [blogspot.com]

    While it doesn't specifically have to be Apple, it seems that none of the established brands really understand what consumers need in a great car stereo. The Alpine model I mention in the above post included: a remote? Required holding a button for a few seconds to active a feature... in a

  • Like we don't have enough self-righteous hybrid owners sniffing their own farts, we now need to bring Apple fanboy mentality into this too?
  • Why Apple's Next Revolution Should Be In Your Car

    Excellent, I already Drive Different! Although I'm sometimes told I'm holding it wrong (the steering wheel wrong [slashdot.org]). Can I get my car equipped with free Apple rubber numbers? I wonder if Apple will start a campaign to get me to "switch" from my Ford Sync-powered vehicle?

  • Yes, the market is ripe for revolution, but it won't happen unless Apple convinces the car makers to let them do it, or build their own car.

    The percentage of people who replace factory stereos today is the lowest it's ever been, and that's because the quality and features included in factory stereos has never been higher. Also thanks to integration game, most factory stereos do more than just play music. If you remove your factory stereo you might lose other important features in the process.

    Unless Apple makes a move to offer a scalable, mufti-function OEM solution that car makers can customize and ship with pride, the best that's going to happen is people will continue to use the iPod/iPhone integration already included in many factory decks.

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