While Shakespeare may have famously said, "What's in a name? An iOS-installed car by any other name will still smell as sweet," the brains over at Apple would seem to disagree. They've been playing around with the branding of their heavily-anticipated "iOS in the Car" feature, renaming it the more succinct "CarPlay."
First announced during the launch of iOS 7 last year, CarPlay (or iOS in the Car as it was then called) was previewed as a feature that would allow motoring manufacturers to integrate iOS-powered mobile devices into their cars' media centres. As an entire room of press sat forward excitedly in their seats, however, the presentation quickly moved on. A slide flashed up with an enigmatic "Coming in 2014" and no more was said about it until, that is, just now.
Unveiled at the Geneva International Motor Show, CarPlay is Apple's attempt to give the iPhone a more vital role inside cars. It allows drivers to access their iPhone's content and maps from the car's entertainment system by tapping into Siri's voice control. Consequently motorists can use it to make calls, check voicemail, give directions and play music through either iTunes radio or Spotify in what Apple terms an "eyes free experience."
"CarPlay has been designed from the ground up to provide drivers with an incredible experience using their iPhone in the car," said Greg Joswiak, Apple's vice president of iPhone and iOS Product Marketing. "iPhone users always want their content at their fingertips and CarPlay lets drivers use their iPhone in the car with minimized distraction."
The technology should be widespreadly available later this year, but will require iOS 7 and a Lightning-enabled iPhone (that's an iPhone 5 phone or later) to function.
Apple's foray into the Internet of Things is something that the CEO of Gigya, Patrick Salyer, has not failed to notice. "There's an all out war for identity on the web and Apple has taken a first step towards entering the fray," he said. "The internet of things is now clearly becoming a part of consumers' everyday lives, and while Apple's extension to the driver's seat is a positive sign, Apple would benefit in many more ways if it opened up Apple ID as an identity provider across devices and platforms."
Ferarri, Mercedes and Volvo have all been showing off CarPlay within their own cars at the show, and other manufacturers have been keen to jump on the bandwagon. BMW, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar, Land Rover, Kia, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru, Suzuki and Toyota have all pledged to include CarPlay technology in future models.
"We have an amazing lineup of auto partners rolling out CarPlay," added Joswiak, presumably in between cartwheels, "and we're thrilled it will make its debut this week in Geneva."