Though Apple is not always first to market with a new product, devices like the iPod, iPhone, and iPad have played a huge role in shaping their respective categories. Analysts are always trying to predict Apple's next big thing, and we've heard a lot about smart watches and TVs over the last couple of years. But could that next big thing be cars?
This past weekend, rumors did the rounds that said Apple was gearing up to place its iOS mobile operating system in cars. Specifically, the Financial Times reported that Apple had worked out a deal that will see iOS inside Mercedes Benz, Volvo and Ferrari automobiles. The announcement was pegged for this week, at the Geneva Motor Show, which takes place in Switzerland. That kicks off this coming Thursday and runs through to March 16. However, despite the fact that the show is still several days away from starting, Apple has already confirmed the news.
Dubbed CarPlay, this version of iOS will include maps, GPS routing, iTunes, Siri, and the ability to make calls and send messages via the iPhone and iMessage. Though Mercedes, Volvo and Ferrari are the only ones showing off cars with CarPlay this week, BMW, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover, Kia, Mitsubishi, Nissan, PSA Peugeot Citroën, Subaru, Suzuki and Toyota are all on board as future CarPlay partners.
What's interesting is that Apple doesn't seem to be leveraging CarPlay as a way to grow its iPhone user base. Instead, the company is catering exclusively to iPhone users. It seems rather straightforward. Apple is pitching CarPlay as a more fun and safer way to use your iPhone in the car, so if you don't have an iPhone, this isn't for you. Still, if Apple had implemented this system in a way that provided enough functionality as a standalone system, CarPlay could have acted as a steppingstone for those who haven't felt compelled to go iPhone over the last seven years. That said, Apple has never really been the inclusive type, so to hear the company's partnering with automakers on an infotainment system exclusively for iPhone users is not at all surprising.