Apple helps blur the line between smartphone and smartcar

A report in Forbes  points once again to the growing trend of automakers hooking up with the giants of tech-gadgets, in this case Apple. Several automakers, including Nissan and GM, are reportedly working closely with Apple to essentially infuse their vehicles with iOS7, the new operating system Apple unveiled last month in San Francisco and which becomes available to the public in September.

Apple (AAPL) recently said it is working with a number of automakers, including General Motors (GM), Mercedes-Benz, Nissan (NSANY), and Hyundai to integrate its new iOS 7operating system into cars. The product is called, not shockingly, “iOS in the Car.” The car’s screen might look like an iPhone’s, allowing Siri voice commands to control navigation, entertainment choices, phone, and functions such as heating and air conditioning.

Favorite apps might be projected from the phone to the screen. Combined with a 3G or 4G connection, the format could allow a driver or passenger to buy and download music — or, perhaps, order merchandise via Amazon (AMZN). “We have been working with Apple on iOS 7,” acknowledged David Reuter, a spokesman for Nissan Motor in Nashville, Tenn. He also said that Siri will be used in some Nissan and Infiniti models.

The marriage of Apple technology, or Google’s Android for that matter, is a no-brainer for the people cranking out our cars and trucks. Consumers along Auto Row are increasingly demanding and expecting to find in the showroom models the same cool tech features they now have in their smartphones and tablets. Apple’s virtual personal assistant, Siri, is the perfect example of how Apple could improve the driving experience, making it a snap to do things like answer phone calls and play music, while at the same time continuing to build out the closed ecosystem of products that the Cupertino tech giant is so masterful at.

First you buy an iPod, then an iPhone, then maybe an iPad, then it’s a natural next step to buy a new car decked out with iTools of all kinds.

As the Forbes post puts it:

In any event, it’s a sure thing that iPhone’s most avid fans will be attracted to car models that emulate Apple’s digital feel and experience. With some 600 million Apple devices in customer hands, automakers have a huge audience with which to connect. “The advantage of a common interface is self-evident,” said one auto executive, who asked not to be identified because of industry competition. “You only have to learn one format for your car and smartphone, rather than two.”

Patrick May Patrick May (331 Posts)

With more than 30 years on the front line of daily American journalism, I'm currently a staff writer with the San Jose Mercury News, covering Apple and writing people-centric business stories from Silicon Valley.