iOS in the Car has the potential to be a huge development for Apple, extending the power of the iPhone and iPad to dashboards of millions of vehicles. Announced by Apple SVP Eddy Cue at WWDC 2013, iOS in the Car allows an iPhone to be connected to a vehicle so that iOS apps (like Maps and Phone) can be easily accessed from the touch screen built into your car's dashboard.
Describing it as the "best passenger ever," Apple explains it this way:
iOS in the Car seamlessly integrates your iOS device — and the iOS experience — with your in-dash system. If your vehicle is equipped with iOS in the Car, you can connect your iPhone 5 or later and interact with it using the car’s built-in display and controls or Siri Eyes Free. Now you can easily and safely make phone calls, access your music, send and receive messages, get directions, and more. It’s all designed to let iPhone focus on what you need, so you can focus on the road.
Numerous people use iPhones in their cars to make phone calls and for navigation (legally or otherwise) and a formal connection to a vehicle's dashboard would give the driver a larger, easier to use – and conceivable safer – user interface for the undeniably useful tools that iOS provides. I want it bad and iOS in the Car support will play a definite role in deciding the next vehicle that I purchase.
At WWDC '13 Cue presented a slide that detailed iOS in the Car support by 12 manufacturers, including Honda, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Ferrari, Chevrolet, Infinity, Kia, Hyundai, Volvo, Acura, Opel and Jaguar. BMW was notably absent, but has since come around.
Not much has been said officially about iOS in Car since WWDC in June, but new screenshots, leaked by developer Steven Troughton-Smith show that significant progress has been made. The screenshots below show the difference in the June interface (bottom) and something more recent (above):
In addition to the dramatic change in the Map overview screen (above), Troughton-Smith also Tweeted alleged screenshots of the Navigation UI:
So, what can we learn from the new screenshots? Not a whole lot, other than the fact that development on iOS in the Car continues and that the interface is getting more refined.
Apple describes iOS in the Car as "Coming soon" on its website and hasn't said much publicly other than a statement by CEO Tim Cook that it's an "important part of the [Apple] ecosystem" and a "key focus."
The fact that Troughton-Smith was able to get screenshots of the updated UI suggests that Apple might be testing the new functionality with external developers, although its tough to deduce any substantive information about the timing of its release from the four new screenshots.
What's your take on iOS in the Car? Revolutionary or evolutionary?