iOS: “What if…”

  • Posted: 11 July 2011 02:19 PM

    You know how sometimes you’re writing a forum post and you accidentally hit the wrong key combo that takes you away from that page, and when you come back the input field is blank. That just happened. And I had a pretty good post going. Argh…

    Anyway, here’s the Readers Digest version of what I was saying:

    iOS has become more and more capable over the last few years. Apple may not wish to open it up to broader use, but let’s say they did. What are some interesting possibilities?

    One thing I would absolutely love to see is a version of iOS for car computers. Most in-dash systems are atrocious and Apple could really improve on things by offering an OS for this use. Imagine some of the possibilities…
    - Built-in storage for media (duh!) but it would wi-fi sync to iTunes at home thanks to iOS 5
    - iCloud sync of navigation destinations from the maps app on your iPhone
    - Remote control via iPhone and iPod (bluetooth or in-car wifi network)
    - Option to integrate into car entertainment system in the back seat for the kids
    - Remote unlock, engine start, heat and cooling, via some secure method that integrates with your iPhone
    - “Find my Car” feature in MobileMe/iCloud (hah)
    - Push notification to your mobile devices if the alarm is set off
    - Ability to get directions to a friend’s location during a phone call (somehow their iPhone could transmit their location to your phone, and your car, during the call)
    - Other?...

    I can’t wait to hear what other ideas people may have.

    PS. Apple, please please please steal these ideas. I want to see them happen. wink

    [ Edited: 11 July 2011 02:29 PM by David Nelson ]      
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    Posted: 11 July 2011 03:38 PM #1

    * automatic mileage/toll/expenses tracker
    * car owner diagnostics beyond check engine light
    * car personality for voice notifications and directions
    * charging station

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  • Posted: 11 July 2011 03:50 PM #2

    Macglenn, the diagnostic idea is particularly good. And add access to custom settings. It’s ridiculous that I have to take my car to the dealer to tweak some minor behavior such as the volume of the beep when it locks and unlocks. That stuff should be built-in or accessible via a Bluetooth or USB connection to my iPhone.

         
  • Posted: 11 July 2011 04:02 PM #3

    Microsoft’s product is behind Ford Sync.  I was a little bit worried about this effort because, like David, I was hoping long ago that Apple would jump into this space.  Car systems are atrocious in terms of ease of use and discoverability.  The manual that came with our 3 series is about 2” thick and even if I had read all of it the odds of remembering relevant bits when necessary are zilch.  At the very least the operation manual ought to be built in.  Apple was working with BMW years ago on something that (if it exists) has yet to see the light of day. 

    The most recent JD Power initial satisfaction poll showed Ford taking a big dive mostly attributable to ...,wait for it…,Microsoft’s Sync.  rolleyes

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  • Posted: 11 July 2011 04:05 PM #4

    One more thing.  The press and some here keep referring to the living room as the next frontier.  Many spend a lot more time in the car then they do the living room.

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    Posted: 11 July 2011 04:12 PM #5

    iOS embedded?  Watch for it on the AirPort line of products (why does my AirPort Express take so long to restart, whyyy) before moving to the automobile.

    I agree, it’d be great to have.  But is the market quite big enough?  Yes, there’s lots of cars made, but what segment to go after?  Sure, you can work with Ford or whoever, but what about Honda?  Toyota?  Hyundai?  And even if you can get iOS Embedded on a nice swath of more affordable cars, how would you ever hope to get in on the higher end?  I mean sure, you might have a premium product in the Camry space, but that Bentley Continental guy won’t like that the same basic unit is in his car too.  It’d be like him having a Ford Sync or Alpine unit in his ride, even if Apple’s own piece is superior.

    The car market is hugely fragmented.  Apple would need a whole new line of embedded products to make it work for differentiation, and then to work with all the different carmakers…?

    Maybe we’ll see this in the post-SJ era.  And I’ll be honest, I’d start to worry a little there.  I’d actually prefer Apple to go after the TV set first, and I don’t advocate Apple doing that, either.

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    Posted: 11 July 2011 04:22 PM #6

    Mav, we’re not talking about car audio here.  Leave that open.  We’re talking about the ‘hub’ between the automobile and the owner, iOS.

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    Posted: 11 July 2011 04:26 PM #7

    Ugh.  iOS helping to RUN the car?  Even worse.

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  • Posted: 11 July 2011 04:56 PM #8

    Mav - 11 July 2011 07:26 PM

    Ugh.  iOS helping to RUN the car?  Even worse.

    I’m not suggesting using it to run any core functionality of the car… just to replace and enhance the the secondary features that are currently handled (very poorly) by in-dash electronics.

    Also cars are just one example in this “what if” discussion. Feel free to share thoughts on other places that an iOS-based system could work.

         
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    Posted: 11 July 2011 04:57 PM #9

    OK Mav here’s you dream car without iOS

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    Posted: 11 July 2011 05:09 PM #10

    LOL.

    Trust me, I’m not sayin’ what everyone has in the car space is great.

    I just want Apple focusing on more profitable ventures at the moment.

    I’m not saying Apple couldn’t do great things in the car space.  But it’s exceedingly complicated, and I don’t want my cars getting “too” smart.  There’s already talk about hacking cars.

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    Posted: 11 July 2011 05:20 PM #11

    BillH - 11 July 2011 07:02 PM

    Microsoft’s product is behind Ford Sync.  I was a little bit worried about this effort because, like David, I was hoping long ago that Apple would jump into this space.  Car systems are atrocious in terms of ease of use and discoverability.  The manual that came with our 3 series is about 2” thick and even if I had read all of it the odds of remembering relevant bits when necessary are zilch.  At the very least the operation manual ought to be built in.  Apple was working with BMW years ago on something that (if it exists) has yet to see the light of day. 

    The most recent JD Power initial satisfaction poll showed Ford taking a big dive mostly attributable to ...,wait for it…,Microsoft’s Sync.  rolleyes

    I think the new BMW 2011 with 6NR support iPod out as described here

    http://www.mobilecrunch.com/2010/07/13/ios-4s-hidden-ipod-out-feature-brings-iphone-support-to-your-car-without-the-messy-third-party-ui/

         
  • Posted: 11 July 2011 05:25 PM #12

    Pats, that is definitely a step in the right direction. I have an iPod integration kit in my car (2006 Mercedes C230) and it certainly is easier and safer than looking down to operate an iPod. However the interface is pretty cumbersome to navigate. I’d love to have the above UI for playing music in my car.

    EDIT: The UI in newer models looks waaay better, though it doesn’t seem to be using the “iPod Out” feature from the BMW video.
    http://www.apple.com/ipod/car-integration/#mercedes

    [ Edited: 11 July 2011 05:28 PM by David Nelson ]      
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    Posted: 11 July 2011 05:40 PM #13

    BMW also has an app for the iPhone which connects you with you vehicle if you have the right in car package, but unfortunately we got rid of our BMW and got a Volvo.  Next car its back to the BMW grin

         
  • Posted: 11 July 2011 05:47 PM #14

    Nice. There’s an app for locking and unlocking your Mercedes via their OnStar-like service… but it looks like that BMW app has quite a bit more functionality.

         
  • Posted: 11 July 2011 06:05 PM #15

    BMW’s iPod integration looks good but I was referring to having them take over the entire display paradigm.  I just had a low tire warning a week ago and selecting reset once I filled up the tire didn’t clear the warning.  (which sometimes clears itself).  I had to know enough to reset the reset.  :( 

    Mav, no one is going to trust giving up engine management or related activities but the UI could definitely be handled by Apple.  I tend to disagree about it not being applied universally between car makers.  A touch screen in a Bentley looks pretty much like one in a toyota.  The materials/detailing that surround it are an entirely different matter.  BMW’s drivetrain with a Jaguar interior and an Apple interface would be my idea of automotive nirvana.  :drool:

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