If you are an Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone user, and are simply not satisfied with the current levels of integration between your device and your car, there’s no need to fret. Volkswagen (VLKAY.PK) has been hard at work to bridge the gap. The partnership is the latest result of Apple’s foray into automotive-based iOS applications, and is scheduled to be released during the Shanghai Motor Show, which opened its doors on April 20th.
The two iBeetle variants — a standard hardtop, and its convertible sibling — will feature two layers of iPhone integration: the first is a device-specific dock, mounted on the dash over the car’s infotainment system. The second layer, isan app that allows a fully-interactive experience between the car’s infotainment system and iOS.
Plugging the phone into the system will still allow users to take advantage of nearly all the features that the handset offers, AppleInsider noted. Navigation, hands-free calling, music, and more of the phone’s core services will be available in the new format, which is good, since the iBeetle model offers little more than what can already be obtained through a simple Bluetooth link already available in numerous vehicles from brands industry-wide…
Some aspects do delve a little bit deeper than the basic trinity of GPS/Phone/Music. Using the Beetle app, iPhone users can link wirelessly with VW’s infotainment system where email and Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) messages can be read aloud, current locations can be shared as a digital ‘postcard’ (presumably through Facebook or Twitter), and share photos take within the car on social media. The social aspect is cool and all, but here’s the real party piece: the integrated app will also give the users the vital stats of the car, such as lateral acceleration, oil and coolant temperature gauges for the engine, a chronometer, and a compass.
While the new outlet for Apple and a further demonstration of the flexibility of iOS is beneficial for both companies, the choice to launch the iBeetle as an entirely new model seems like a bit much for something that would generally be found as an entry on the options list for an existing model. Reportedly, the new car will sport an iOS-inspired paint scheme, some new disc-style wheels and well, that’s it, really.
The potential here is not so much displayed with this first concept model. The more impressive bits will likely be what will be born out of this new partnership, and the direction that in-car app capabilities will move in. The first few editions will likely be pretty basic and not a huge step over current integration methods, but if Bluetooth just isn’t cutting it for you, and you’re in need of something more seamless, expect to see the iBeetle hitting dealer lots sometime in 2014.
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