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Why Apple's Next Revolution Should Be In Your Car

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the just-one-button dept.

Transportation 293

New submitter eetc writes "This article surveys the sorry state of car makers' stereo and navigation systems: 'It's clear that most of the auto companies that offer more than a car stereo want to lock you into their interface and services — as awful as they are. The rest don't care. The aftermarket stereo and nav systems are no better. Stuffed with even more buttons and light-show gewgaws, they're sure to keep your eyes off the road and may not work easily with your stuff. Add to that mix the split focus of also having to use a separate GPS unit in most vehicles, and you have to wonder what keeps our roads so relatively safe.' The answer in one word: iCar. This is just the sort of broken market that Apple specializes in taking over."

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Apple will decide where you can and can't travel (5, Funny)

crazyjj (2598719) | more than 2 years ago | (#39824727)

Driver: Siri, why is the car slowing down?

Siri: I'm sorry, but this road has not been pre-approved by Apple for use with your Apple vehicle. Would you like me to suggest an alternate, approved route?

Driver: Wait, you can control my car...the WHOLE car? Which one of these wires will unplug you anyway, bitch? ....Hey, what is that coming out of the air conditioner?

Siri: I've detected an illegal attempt at vehicle modification. This will help you relax while I drive you to the Apple Store for sanction.

Driver: waait..iah...stoppp

Siri: Your end-user license agreement specifically stated at purchase that your Apple vehicle was to be used for the sole purpose of engaging in Apple approved activities. Any attempt to modify this car is a violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and may result in penalties from a fine to death.

Driver: deaaathhh?

Siri: Penalty will be determined through third-party mediation, which you also agreed to at purchase. Is there anything else I can help you with today?

Re:Apple will decide where you can and can't trave (-1, Troll)

Moheeheeko (1682914) | more than 2 years ago | (#39824927)

And when it randomly drives people off the road and into a tree, Apple will scream FEATURE!

Re:Apple will decide where you can and can't trave (0)

halfEvilTech (1171369) | more than 2 years ago | (#39824931)

But then would the response from apple be "You are just driving wrong"?

Re:Apple will decide where you can and can't trave (1)

Metabolife (961249) | more than 2 years ago | (#39824949)

But then would the response from apple be "You are just driving wrong"?

"You're driving it wrong"

Re:Apple will decide where you can and can't trave (1)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825053)

"Don't drive it that way."

Re:Apple will decide where you can and can't trave (1)

what2123 (1116571) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825081)

We've got an app for that!

Re:Apple will decide where you can and can't trave (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39825085)

But then would the response from apple be "You are just driving wrong"?

"You're driving it wrong"

http://asawise.com/

Re:Apple will decide where you can and can't trave (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39825055)

How is this insightful? Funny? Yes. Insightful? No.

Re:Apple will decide where you can and can't trave (5, Insightful)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825547)

How is this insightful? Funny? Yes. Insightful? No.

"Insightful" gives a better boost to Karma than "Funny" so a lot of mods use "Insightful" in its place.

Re:Apple will decide where you can and can't trave (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39825295)

Whining iHater. Sounds like you're having a hissy-fit. How many decades has the auto-industry lagged in technology? Why didn't you iHaters get into the market and come out with something before Apple was even considered? Oh, that's right, you're waiting for Apple to come out with something first so you guys can copy it and preach to the world that it was the next logical step in evolution so damn Apple for doing the obvious??!!

Apple is very good at what they do to simplify processes for the masses. Since you guys are too lazy to come up with your own solution - you've only had 20+ years to do it!! - let Apple do the work for you.

Whiners.

Re:Apple will decide where you can and can't trave (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39825495)

I bet you cried like he was your daddy when Steve Jobs died, didn't you?

Re:Apple will decide where you can and can't trave (0, Flamebait)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825353)

Whereas the Microsoft version will just take you crashing off a cliff and burst into flames when you start the car -- skipping directly to death. ;-)

and you can only go the dealer for oil changes and (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825543)

and you can only go the dealer for oil changes and more. With price being a lot higher then jiff lube and any other 3rd part shop.

Also you must put premium in.

Sorry to rain on Apples parade n all but... (4, Insightful)

bazmail (764941) | more than 2 years ago | (#39824753)

they said that about the living room a few years ago, what happened there?

Re:Sorry to rain on Apples parade n all but... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39824803)

Apple TV + iPad!! That's what happened!

Re:Sorry to rain on Apples parade n all but... (2, Informative)

bazmail (764941) | more than 2 years ago | (#39824915)

Sorry to piss on your corn flakes but,

iPad - not living room specific - did not cause a living room revolution. There were laptops and tablets in the living room long before the ipad.

Apple TV.....Really?......REALLY? a crippled late-to-tha-game almost-abandoned video streamer box is a revolution?

Fan much?

Re:Sorry to rain on Apples parade n all but... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39824959)

Have you actually used an iPad with the AppleTV? The Airplay functionality alone makes it worth having an AppleTV.

Re:Sorry to rain on Apples parade n all but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39825093)

Have you actually used an iPad with the AppleTV?

Nope. Don't think I've ever met anyone who's used an AppleTV at all. Hence, no revolution.

Hey, have you used Windows Vista on one of those Microsoft Surface things?

Re:Sorry to rain on Apples parade n all but... (3, Interesting)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825139)

+1 on the AC comment. One of my guilty pleasures is watching Grimm on NBC, but it's rare that I'm available to watch it on Friday night. So if I've got a free hour some time later in the weekend, I fire up the NBC app, switch the AirPlay setting to play through my aTV, and I can watch it all on my big screen TV whenever I want.

Of course, if the majors would work with Apple to provide aTV-native apps, it would be even easier. It's going to happen eventually, I think. I can live with commercials; I will sometimes buy shows that I can't get via streaming. But if I'm going to watch a show, it's got to be time-shiftable, and I have NO interest in buying a device whose only purpose is time shifting broadcast TV, a-la Tivo.

Re:Sorry to rain on Apples parade n all but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39825331)

One of my guilty pleasures is watching Grimm on NBC, but it's rare that I'm available to watch it on Friday night. So if I've got a free hour some time later in the weekend, I fire up the NBC app, switch the AirPlay setting to play through my aTV, and I can watch it all on my big screen TV whenever I want.

I *think* that you just said that if you don't have time to watch this show, that you record it and watch it later. If that isn't it then try again in English. If that is it then you really need to add some information about why that's different to what you would do without an "aTV", which I'm guessing is the same thing as an Apple TV? It doesn't sound impressive, probably because you missed out some key details - but I don't know what they might be.

Re:Sorry to rain on Apples parade n all but... (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825357)

I just use hulu on my HTPC. Why do you need an apple anything to do this?

I have considered using an mini as an HTPC though.

Re:Sorry to rain on Apples parade n all but... (5, Insightful)

imamac (1083405) | more than 2 years ago | (#39824965)

Just because Apple didn't help change your living room does't mean it didn't change a lot of others'. Between Apple and Netflix the cable company lost my business. And I'm not the only one.

Re:Sorry to rain on Apples parade n all but... (2, Insightful)

bazmail (764941) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825141)

It may well have changed living rooms, but it did not cause a revolution, which is what this sd post is about. It was late, crippled, under powered. The fact that it can show netflix movies is not revolutionary. My dogs water bowl can show netflix movies. As for dropping the cable company, many have done likewise but not necessarily because of apple.

Re:Sorry to rain on Apples parade n all but... (3, Interesting)

AdrianKemp (1988748) | more than 2 years ago | (#39824993)

Sorry to piss *in* your corn flakes, but by saying that you've proven you've never tried the system.

iPad + AppleTV is so, so, so so so so so so SO SO much better than any other single/combination of set tops in existence it's embarrassing.

Mind you, it comes with a price tag that depending on what you've got rivals the TV itself... But to say it isn't good just proves you've never used it.

Re:Sorry to rain on Apples parade n all but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39825119)

I've used the iPad and AppleTV, but I chose (what I found to be) better alternatives for my situation. I didn't find the iPad or AppleTV so, so so so so SO SO SOD JAFOsdfj oasjdfaksj much better as everything else on the planet as you described, but I'm also not another sheep in the herd either.

Re:Sorry to rain on Apples parade n all but... (1)

Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825185)

I believe the point was whether or not the living room has changed fundamentally because of the iPad/AppleTV combination. You may love it, and it may be the best thing ever, but the fact is the living room is much the same as before. I know a staggering number of people with iDevices, you could make the claim that Apple did revolutionize that particular space, but even with the huge geeky crowd that I roll with, nobody has an AppleTV system. Although, many of us do have XBMC setups.

Re:Sorry to rain on Apples parade n all but... (1)

AdrianKemp (1988748) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825343)

I guess it depends on your criteria for revolution. If it's a sheer numbers game, than Apple hasn't even made a blip, and the local (piece of shit) cable company is the most revolutionary thing ever.

If on the other hand it's functionality, Apple most definitely has revolutionized the living room. I can mirror from my phone, my tablet, my computer without any hassle and regardless of my TV. My friends can instead of loading up a trailer or what have you on my computer after asking for passwords and such just hit airplay on their phones (only 2 of my friends have failed to make the switch to an iPhone). I can and do rent movies from it, play music from any of the computers in my house, and all of the more standard things that set tops can do.

So I guess the question is: Do you think your cable company is revolutionary? because if you don't, then Apple is.

Re:Sorry to rain on Apples parade n all but... (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825377)

Why limit it to setops? I use an HTPC and control it with tablets and phones. I would say it even beats the appleTV since I can get stuff that is only available via Flash.

Re:Sorry to rain on Apples parade n all but... (1)

AdrianKemp (1988748) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825525)

Ah well I think there's some fairness in limiting it to set tops really. Ultimately if you don't then my standard computer is the best entertainment system accessory ever (it can play games too!)

However, I freely admit that without the iPad (or an iPhone which is about the same price) the appleTV is not an especially impressive bit of kit. Given that the combo costs considerably more than most HTPCs I can't really argue with you too much here.

I will say that the (new) appleTV has a much smaller footprint than even the tiniest of HTPCs, and there is a certain power to the simplicity (for instance, my mother wasn't confused by it when she came over)

Re:Sorry to rain on Apples parade n all but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39824995)

I wouldn't say abandoned, don't a fair amount of people buy them, jailbreak them and then stick xbmc on them?

Re:Sorry to rain on Apples parade n all but... (2)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825001)

Yes, actually it is. Screen mirroring is powerful stuff when you have on strapped to every screen in the house and the world is bending to provide content for the ipad. Apple is a breath away from becoming a 'gaming console'.

Re:Sorry to rain on Apples parade n all but... (4, Insightful)

King_TJ (85913) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825513)

Umm... Apple never quite succeeded in that "changing the living room" promise not because of any real failure on their own part, but because of the content industry's stubbornness. When Apple first introduced legally purchasable digital music downloads from the iTunes store, they were able to talk the recording industry into (very tentatively at first) going along with them on it. In fact, just to get THAT much done, they had to code in concessions that frustrate users to his day (such as not being allowed to sync music BACK to a copy of iTunes FROM your iPod).

By the time they were interested in TV content, THAT industry dug in their heels, determined not to lose control over some of their content and advertising revenue to Apple, who had now proven they could make BIG money off this stuff, once you gave them the opportunity.

Netflix is another company struggling with the same issues.... If one of these streaming services REALLY took off (and Apple, of all people, might just be able to do it, since they're known for building devices easy enough to use so the average Joe wouldn't be intimidated by them), it would put an end to the entire cable TV industry as we know it. No longer could they FORCE you to take a bunch of channels you didn't want in a package to get others you wanted. No longer would people be content to pay for "premium" channels like HBO or Showtime. Instead, they'd just pay for specific shows they offered that they liked. (Sounds a little bit like what happened with music, doesn't it? People could just pay 99 cents for that one good single on an album instead of being forced to buy the whole thing for $13.99.) And don't forget - the satellite and cable providers currently make some nice extra revenue charging extra for additional boxes or boxes with DVR recording capabilities in them. That would all be taken away from them as well.

No thanks... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39824773)

And the stereo will only work when I hold the steering wheel correctly?

Re:No thanks... (1)

Man On Pink Corner (1089867) | more than 2 years ago | (#39824813)

Which would still be a hell of a lot better than the way autosound works now.

Drink holder (4, Funny)

Toe, The (545098) | more than 2 years ago | (#39824787)

Stereo? GPS? Car companies can't even make a cup holder that actually works.

It is strange, because as far as I can tell, people have been taking beverages into automobiles for at least... 12 years... perhaps more? And yet, car companies keep trying to reinvent the cup holder, usually horribly.

WTF? How can it be that difficult to engineer something so simple after so much time?

Re:Drink holder (1)

berashith (222128) | more than 2 years ago | (#39824991)

I know that I once had a Mazda that had cup holders that only tripped the cup every time you turned. A little wire popped up when you opened the cup holder, and didnt go near high enough to stop anything. Well, almost anything. It turns out that Mazda was willing to sell a coffee cup that fit perfectly within the shape of this holder to never fall out. To the rest of us cheap suckers that refused their awesomely engineered cup, we could use our laps.

Re:Drink holder (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39825003)

How about Volvo? The XC90 [medwayimports.com] has twelve of them.

Re:Drink holder (4, Funny)

Reece400 (584378) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825105)

My Oldsmobile Alero had a cup holder right in front of the gear shift - if you put anything larger than a small 12oz cup in it you'd either crush it when you tried putting the vehicle into park or not get that far and end up with your vehicle in reverse. The cup holders in the back seat were semi circle shaped with little rubber flaps that were supposed to hold the cup - they didn't. I don't understand how anyone at GM could have though this was a good idea, but somehow they decided to design it this way anyway. Thinking back, I'm amazed it took as long as it did for GM to go bankrupt.

Re:Drink holder (1)

sunderland56 (621843) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825109)

Most car engineers are from countries that don't drink while driving - e.g. Japan, Germany.

Car systems need to be simple (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39824789)

What's wrong with getting a bit old fashioned - volume control know, tuning knob, slide controls or dials to control the heater (back to the '80's anyone).

Anytime you get buttons involved and a touch screen you need to look at it. Any buttons should have a unique "feel/texture" so you can differentiate by touch without looking.

Re:Car systems need to be simple (1)

DigitalSorceress (156609) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825431)

In other words, haptic controls make for less driver distraction.

That's exactly why I ditched my Philips Pronto remote for something with discrete buttons... and at least in front of my TV, I'm not driving (unless it's a game on the Xbox)

Not a novel approach to subject. Vanity link. (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39824805)

Wordpress founder Matt Mullenweg in October 2011:
http://ma.tt/2011/10/whats-next-for-apple/

"This is the most far-out, but I think most certain. Voice-controlled search through Siri and Apple Maps provide the hands-free framework for a rich interactive experience while driving. Walk down the car stereo aisle in Best Buy and see what $800 gets you, or a $300 GPS from Garmin, vs an iPad or iPhone. The screens feel like a TI-92 calculator. The typography makes my eyes bleed. I find it morally reprehensible how bad these products are because it’s one of the areas of technology where a bad interface is most directly tied to injuries and deaths. Car folks are making their iPhone/iPod integrations better and better, which may be a glass of ice water in hell, but they’ll never make the jump to providing a beautiful marriage of media, search, and navigation that a great in-car experience needs. Right now you can spend 110k on a Tesla Roadster, a car of the future, and for an additional $4,500 (9 iPads!) get this Alpine head unit. (Watch that video and try not to laugh at how bad the interface is.) Retail it only sets you back 1.4 iPads. That’s just sad."

I think if editors are going to post non-news blog opinion pieces, they have a duty to do a little due diligence--is the argument novel, or have other people made it before? Is it well explained, or not? Is Galen Gruman a heavyweight? Is Infoworld? Are their arguments likely to provoke further discussion amongst heavyweights?

Not to say that the issue is any less germane than it was in October 2011, but just accepting a link because it was submitted and it seems reasonable enough is not good editorial practice.

The article linked doesn't really add anything to the one I just posted, it's split over two pages for extra ad impressions, and the site is incredibly visually busy filled with social widgets and tags and ads and everything, in contrast to the one I posted which is clean.

Re:Not a novel approach to subject. Vanity link. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39825219)

I think this is the direction we need to go - Pioneer App Radio [pioneerelectronics.com] . The smart phone will be for everything, why aren't we using it to drive the display in the car?

Harder! Screw us harder! (5, Insightful)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 2 years ago | (#39824807)

> It's clear that most of the auto companies that offer more than a car stereo
> want to lock you into their interface and services — as awful as they are.

Uh huh. So if Apple locked you into THEIR interface and services it would be insanely great and you would be lining up for it.

P.T. Barnum was an optimist.

Re:Harder! Screw us harder! (4, Funny)

HCase (533294) | more than 2 years ago | (#39824905)

I'm not entirely sure you understand the difference here. You do realize the auto company interfaces don't have images of fruit stamped into them? Right?

Re:Harder! Screw us harder! (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825023)

Navtec via manufacturer - $1200 navigation package plus $100/yr map update for once a year data through a dealership.
Navtec via iOS - $20-40 North American Maps and Google local search integration, $20/yr for subscription for quarterly map update subscription, delivered automatically.

Sorry, I'm pretty sure I know which one I'm gonna choose to have lock me in.

Re:Harder! Screw us harder! (1)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825133)

You think an Apple based package built into a vehicle will be less expensive? Really? Based on what evidence? Name one market Apple has entered where they have competed on price?

The bigger problem is no automaker is likely to give Apple the sort of total control over the entire vehicle they would insist upon. And I doubt they would want to enter the aftermarket business.

Re:Harder! Screw us harder! (1)

sunderland56 (621843) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825229)

Navtec via manufacturer - $1200 navigation package plus $100/yr map update for once a year data through a dealership.
Navtec via iOS - $20-40 North American Maps and Google local search integration, $20/yr for subscription for quarterly map update subscription, delivered automatically.

The auto manufacturer provides the hardware. To be fair you need to add in the cost of an iPad to the Apple total.

For my car, all nav system updates are free. My last one included a free car wash and a free loaner for the day. You're paying $20 more for less service.

Re:Harder! Screw us harder! (1)

LanMan04 (790429) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825361)

Uh huh. So if Apple locked you into THEIR interface and services it would be insanely great and you would be lining up for it.

If our ONLY two choices are (1) being locked into a shitty interface provided by Ford/Honda/etc, or (2) being locked into an awesome (or at least better) interface provided be Apple....well, I pick the later.

Wouldn't end well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39824823)

Having to deal with iTunes already makes me suicidal when I'm stationary, much less at 75mph.

Why the next one? (2)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#39824827)

I already have that in my car. anyone that has bought an aftermarket stereo that has a high level of iphone integration already has these features.

Hell Kenwood has one that now mirrors the iphone screen on the dash display, it's been out for a year now... Did the article author even look to se what was already on the market?

What I want is a genuine Android based car stereo. Unfortunately anything out there is all locked down wierd like the Parrot Android car stereo or a complete steaming turd from china running a 500mhz processor and runs WinCE for the nav section.

Re:Why the next one? (1)

Kindgott (165758) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825135)

If you're a bit more daring, you can check out sites such as mp3car.com [mp3car.com] or other "carputer" resources and try to roll your own. Looking at mp3car.com now, I am slightly disappointed. They used to be more of a "how to" with a shop section, and they seem to have transformed into a shop with a forums section.

No more steering wheel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39824829)

Tired of that big, clunky wheel getting in your way? No problem! The new iCar will simply have a pair of buttons, letting you turn 90 degrees left or right with a single push. Another button will allow you to turn around. You don't really need to drive anywhere that those aren't enough for, anyway.

Re:No more steering wheel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39824909)

A pair of buttons? No, no, that's way too confusing for Mac tards. You expect them to be able to multitask? They'll just have a single, touch scroll wheel.

What's the point (for Apple)? (1)

PeanutButterBreath (1224570) | more than 2 years ago | (#39824833)

How will Apple be able to leverage such a system to sell third-party content and take their cut?

Re:What's the point (for Apple)? (1)

berashith (222128) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825025)

map updates? too bad for them that google already flattened that market

Re:What's the point (for Apple)? (1)

Reece400 (584378) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825165)

POI listing fees?

Mirror your phone (1)

tilandal (1004811) | more than 2 years ago | (#39824849)

Mirror the display, mic, speakers and touch screen of your smartphone. Done. Was that so hard? If you want to show off you can even make it so you enable voice commands by default and integrate with steering wheel stereo controls.

Fuck no (3, Interesting)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 2 years ago | (#39824879)

I don't want integration. I want my radio to be my radio and my GPS (if I had a GPS) to be my GPS. I don't want co-mingling of technology.

Haven't we learned anything from Battlestar Galactica? You don't network everything. You keep things separate.

Or, if you snerk at that example, haven't we learned anything from Unix/Linux where each piece does it's thing, and ONLY it's thing?

We've seen what an absolute shitfest things become when we try to make things "new and improved", "Now with more features you have to look at and try to decipher while driving!" Hey Ford, how's that wonderful technological tour de force radio and navigation interface working out?

Engineers and developers need to get their heads out of their asses and go back to the ultimate rule: KISS

Re:Fuck no (1, Funny)

JDG1980 (2438906) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825153)

Haven't we learned anything from Battlestar Galactica? You don't network everything. You keep things separate. Or, if you snerk at that example, haven't we learned anything from Unix/Linux where each piece does it's thing, and ONLY it's thing?

So your two examples are a sci-fi TV show, and an OS that works well on servers but is an absolute failure on the desktop because its "do one thing well" mentality creates fragmentation and doesn't fit the needs or expectations of average users.

Re:Fuck no (2)

glueball (232492) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825191)

Mod this guy up.

Apple should forget the car market. It's the wrong market to solve. I know they won't listen to me in my armchair, but doesn't mean I'm not right.

Apple should go after the Healthcare market. I work in healthcare and there is no reason for me to have to make 27 mouse click, 2 tab-folder re-sizes, enter my password 3 times and then fight with an entry screen that is 3" x 3" on my 21" monitor to enter into the Electronic Medical System that the patient has a new complaint. This, my friends, is the state of the art. It *should* be 2 clicks, a password, and start typing.

Really--it's that bad. Apple could rock the work if they said "We are going to look at the systems and do it right." Even if it's not right, it could hardly be worse than what is available today.

Re:Fuck no (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39825317)

Or, if you snerk at that example, haven't we learned anything from Unix/Linux where each piece does it's thing, and ONLY it's thing?

All of those pieces all run in a single unified system. What you are asking for is a situation where you would have to plug in a separate piece of hardware with its own keyboard and screen if you want to use "ls", and then you have another screen+device+keyboard for using "cd" and so on. Integration is the whole damn point of the Unix command line, because all the pieces integrate well and they are all available within the same device - your computer. Also, if no one made things new and improved, you wouldn't have any computers in the first place. I think you may want to reconsider who needs to pull their head out of a certain place.

stupid premise. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39824899)

Since phones are basically pocket gps nav, media players, game centers etc, there is no reason for the car stereo to be anything other then an amplifier an aux minijack anymore and maybe throw in a radio for the old timers. Why would apple subsidize that industry to get their own hardware in cars when people already use their phones to do that stuff anyways? If the car industry was smart they'd stop adding that extra crap and just provide a standard interface for devices to connect to and share data across.

I have an Ipod enabled stereo in my car, have had one for 6+ years. It sucks frankly, for trying to navigate through songs, albums, playlists etc. I usually just connect through the aux port and navigate through the ipod. It's easier and faster to do then playing with the stereo for 10 minutes cycling through one directory or song after another to find something I feel like listening to.

cars have USB these days (2)

alen (225700) | more than 2 years ago | (#39824913)

My honda CR-V EX-L has a USB port. i plug my iphone in, pick a playlist and let it play. i can use the steering wheel buttons to skip songs. also works with pandora and slacker radio. spotify is a little buggy.

it also works with Zune and plain USB flash drives. android not so good because it's a plain vanilla micro-USB port on their phones

and i'll take my iphone GPS over a car GPS. Waze on iphone is free, not $2000. and free traffic info.

Re:cars have USB these days (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825559)

My wife's Jetta has Bluetooth built in, which means all I have to do after pairing my DX with her car is get in it and hit play on the stereo (or give the equivalent voice command). Surprisingly, it also has an SD slot in the dash.

The only thing I would change with her system is the inability to share my phone's screen with the 6" touchscreen built into the dash... not that it's really an issue, I would just like to be able to watch YouTube videos on a slightly larger screen while I'm waiting for her to finish getting a manicure.

no way (1)

P-niiice (1703362) | more than 2 years ago | (#39824917)

watch how you hold that steering wheeeeeeeel

the icar (0)

CosaNostra Pizza Inc (1299163) | more than 2 years ago | (#39824925)

Apple would not partner with an automaker. Instead they would take their typical walled garden approach by designing their own car around their smart device and selling it at a substantial profit...but Apple fans would buy the car, no matter what the cost. Of course the problem then arises that the vehicles have to drive on 3rd party roads...That would be the next level in Apple conquest.

Actually, Microsoft. (5, Interesting)

AdrianKemp (1988748) | more than 2 years ago | (#39824945)

I have ford SYNC (microsoft SYNC), and it's fucking brilliant.

I never touch my stereo, between the 4 steering wheel controls (volume,next/prev,voice command,hang up) and the frankly kick-ass voice control I just never need to.

I never have had it misdial, only very occasionally does it have trouble when I ask for a specific album (and then only when it's not a native language name) and generally just had it be all sorts of awesome all the time.

So no, Apple can sit this one out (and this is coming from someone who's entire computing existence is apple, I own the iphone/ipad/appletv/macbook/imac). Microsoft has done a great job already.

Re:Actually, Microsoft. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39825035)

Agreed!!! Sync is awesome, and Microsoft is far ahead of everybody without most people even relizing it, they saw an industry (car computing) that was not being utilized and they started making software for it - and its awesome!

Re:Actually, Microsoft. (2)

alphax45 (675119) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825051)

You beat me to it by two minutes!

Ford does it right (2)

alphax45 (675119) | more than 2 years ago | (#39824967)

Ford Sync is great.

They realize that your car is around a lot longer than your phone so in a lot of ways your smartphone is really the brains, the car is just the interface. The voice works surprisingly well. They have all kinds of API's that let apps on your phone be controlled by your voice via the Sync. I know that Microsoft designed it, but I like it a lot. 2011 Ford Fusion SE is the car I have.

Re:Ford does it right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39825067)

(and this is coming from someone who's entire computing existence is apple, I own the iphone/ipad/appletv/macbook/imac).

Yeah! I throw away my money on overpriced shinies too! Rock on, brotha! *high 5*

Been wanting this for some time (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 2 years ago | (#39824973)

Auto manufacturers have very little to gain from good sound in cars, or keeping up with hot stuff in the industry. They're not organized to be able to update and upgrade on a continual basis because you need a car for transporatation, and them putting hundreds of thousands of man hours a year into an constantly updated interface will not sell you another car. In an industry where a small plastic vent costs less than a dollar to make, and retails at $40 - and it only sold at retail - a 99c app or a $20 map add on is not something they feel is valuable.

Apple, OTOH, has a huge infrastructure built up around their iOS platform. With the right tweaks, they can turn your head unit into a combination nav, music, weather, traffic and internet hub. They're learning voice control - very possibly the best interface for a single driver. And, what better way to get you to use their cloud services than to get your car to sync with your library via the cloud.

If (and I say IF) they can figure out the whole "install" part of the picture - and Apple isn't really into the soldering-irons-and-screwdrivers crowd - they could very easily wrap up a large portion of the auto market if they play their cards right.

Hyundai Veloster (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39824981)

The head unit in my Hyundai Veloster is a Windows CE 6.0 mips based computer made by LG.

It's all right there, radio, satellite radio, navigation, an efficiency video game, and bluelink (an onstar clone). Integrates with my phone adequately, but could be better on that front.

With a small modification you can even play videos on the head unit, oh and without modification you can even hook up some game consoles to it.

ATMOS anyone? (1)

BackwardPawn (1356049) | more than 2 years ago | (#39824985)

Doctor Who already showed us what would happen if Apple was allowed in our cars...it was called ATMOS.

Two words (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39824987)

No Thanks

Fuck No (0)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825015)

I don't like too many computers in my vehicles (I think 0 is a reasonable number), and I sure as hell don't want anything from Apple in there.

What's a "gewgaw"? (1)

NoSalt (801989) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825031)

just askin' ...

Yesterday's Technology (1)

mhess126 (917179) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825033)

Personal automobiles are in the process of being de-prioritized as a mode of transport. If Apple is a forward-thinking company, they should understand that cars are a 20th century machine, not a growth market in the 21st.

Never Happen (1)

hondo77 (324058) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825045)

Apple wants to control the total user experience. Can you imagine Apple letting a company as clueless as GM integrate Apple products into their cars? They would eventually produce the iVega [wikipedia.org] . I can't see Apple allowing another company to have that much influence on their products' success.

I Don't Like Them Apples, Thanks For Asking (1)

Baby Duck (176251) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825047)

"It's clear that most of the auto companies that offer more than a car stereo want to lock you into their interface and services"

It's a good thing Apple never tries to do that ...

No Thanks (1)

DarthVain (724186) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825059)

If like the rest of their devices it is totally useless after 2 years, then no thanks!

Article has a point. (1)

MMC Monster (602931) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825071)

I was just thinking this on the drive into work today.

Would be nice to listen to the same radio station all the way, but reception cuts out half way up. My car is new enough to have an iPod interface, but new enough to not support an iPhone or similar device with in-dashboard controls.

A newer interface would allow me to stream a radio station through my phone (and maybe use google maps from the phone) via the car controls.

How about an API that allows this to be done with any phone via USB? No need for locking.

And (obviously???) no critical systems controlled by the phone.

There, fixed that for you (1)

Lucas123 (935744) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825113)

"Why Apple's Next Evolution Should Be In Your Car"

--
Shut up, you American. You Americans, all you do is talk, and talk, and say "let me tell you something" and "I just wanna say." Well, you're dead now, so shut up.

New dock connector, total touch/display mirroring (2)

swb (14022) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825117)

I'd like to see the dock connector updated so that the entire iPhone display and touch interface could be used on the car's in-dash display, reformatted and enlarged if necessary to fit the screen's native display resolution and orientation, along with all the other expected integration like phone, audio and video.

Apple could license this interface to car makers for free and then help them create apps specific to the car, binding the carmaker to Apple and making consumers shop for iPhone integration specifically.

It would also get Apple closer to the point where the iPhone was really a portable computer that could be docked and then taken anywhere.

Has a point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39825151)

What is really annoying are the navigation systems that cease to function while the car is moving. My car has that *feature*, and it renders the technology useless.

When I need a GPS, I prefer to use my phone over the built-in system because you can use it while moving. Needless to say, my next car will not have built-in navigation.

Oh God No (1)

TigerTime (626140) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825171)

Listen I really hope that the infotainment systems in cars begin to integrate better with our portable devices. But i sure as hell hope it's not Apple leading the way, because everything will be patented and require iDevices, iAPIs, iConnections, and on their own proprietary iTooth network.

The tech companies and car companies need to come out with an OPEN standard that is free from all this patented bullshit. It shouldn't matter if I have an iPhone and Chevy or a Android and Ford. Everything should be inter-operable. And as we know, if Apple is leading the way, it'll be a cold day in hell for it to be inter-operable.

Re:Oh God No (1)

narcc (412956) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825503)

RIM is actually leading here. QNX is already in millions of cars on the road and they have a strong relationship with manufacturers like Porsche. Both Porsche and Renault have shown-off concept cars with PlayBook integration.

While I doubt we'll see auto manufacturers agree to anything close to a standard, open or not, I don't mind having a company like RIM, with a fantastic security track-record, and an OS as stable and reliable as QNX leading the way. RIM has always allowed "side loading" (we just call that regular loading) on devices without compromising security. I don't know what you need in way of interoperability, but I have little doubt that you'll get more from RIM than other players.

Why not? (0)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825199)

Sometimes I forget that there are still people who have to spend hours in their car every day. What a horrible way to live. And why? Because your employer is invested in you having as little time to yourself as possible where you could be productive in any way that does not benefit the corporation.

And one of the current US political parties absolutely hates the idea of public transportation, so fuck you, Mr Employee. And no, those nice houses walking distance from the job aren't for you, they're for upper management. You better be grateful you've got a job because we could make it go away just like that [snaps fingers}.

You really don't have to take it, you know. You don't have to live that way. You think you do, but you don't.

don't drive like that (1)

CosaNostra Pizza Inc (1299163) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825227)

When Apple's iPhones had bad reception because the users held it a certain way, Job's only reply was 'don't hold it that way'. Do I really want this approach to apply to my "i-vehicle" when driving and my life is at stake?

Needed: A line of electronics for grown-ups (2)

Alaska Jack (679307) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825277)

I've thought many times that there must be a huge, untapped market for a line of electronics for grown ups. Try searching for a shelf stereo system, for example. Most of it is garish crap, burdened with all kinds of obscure functionality most people will never use. There are systems more minimal and adult-looking, but "minimialist" doesn't mean "user-friendly." What I'm talking about is a system that looks nice, is of relatively good quality, and for which you never need to read the manual. It's just obvious how to work it.

Car stereos are the same way. They almost all sacrifice function for style.

And alarm clocks. How about an alarm clock with a panel that you flip open, and behind it is a simple, phone style number pad. To set alarm 1, you press

[Set Alarm 1] - [7] - [3] - [0] - [am] - [Enter], then turn a little analog dial to set the volume, and flip the panel closed.

Done.

lllll Alaska Jack

Wow!! Had to check to see if it was MY article... (1)

King_TJ (85913) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825315)

I've been saying this exact same thing for a long time now!

Year after year, we see enthusiasts trying to shoehorn computer gear into their vehicles in creative ways, to essentially check off the same old "want list" we've always had -- yet auto makers never seem to really catch on. (And before you say "What about Ford Sync?", I'd argue all they did was hand things over to Microsoft after exhibiting absolutely NO clue about what the public wanted in a car stereo or modernized dashboard up to that point. Even at that, older versions of Sync can't perform any of the things possible in the later generations, and there's no easy upgrade path. Ford's desired solution is "Trade that vehicle in for a NEW one!")

All things considered? I think the most promising system right now may be Cadillac's CUE, which integrates a heads-up display, fully digital dashboard AND capacitive touch-screen panel. (http://www.cadillac.com/cadillac_cue.html) Once again though, it's a big unknown if buyers of a new Cadillac with this system will have something upgradable/expandable throughout the life of their car, or if it'll just get dropped with the next vehicle re-styling that comes along, as they've done before? I have a 2011 CTS Coupe myself, and the "infotainment" system in it is "decentish" at best. It has a few things going for it that are rather unique, including the ability to decode Dolby DTS surround sound on DVD audio discs. It's tough finding content to play that's in Dolby DTS surround format, but it exists. (Amazon is your friend in that search.) The GPS has a nice level of integration too, including it automatically offering to direct you to the closest filling station when your low fuel light comes on. But on the downside? GPS map updates cost upwards of $200 every time you want to buy a new one, and they're only released once per year (not quarterly as you could get for a cheap, portable unit!). Bluetooth audio streaming is non-existent too. Oh, and the voice recognition system is so poor, even the salesman showing me the car tried to discourage me from trying it out during his demo!

One of the things I've always wanted (but automakers seem to think buyers are too dumb to use?) is integration with the OBDII diagnostics computer. If my car gets one of those "check engine lights", I want to see details of what the code is and what it means on my touchscreen! I'd also like the ability to monitor my choice of parameters on virtual gauges on the screen, such as air/fuel mixture or spark timing.

The market is ripe for Apple to swoop in with a better solution.... They're already pretty much the king of touchscreen devices right now, and know a thing or two about distribution of music and video content.

Apple is the wrong company for this. (3, Interesting)

Annirak (181684) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825325)

Apple's speciality is in seamless UI's. While people seem to like this for mobile phones and tablets, it's not the right solution for a car. Cars require tactile interfaces so that they can be navigated using touch while the driver keeps his eyes on the road. Apple has the potential to bypass this concern using Siri, but that comes with additional problems.

Siri and the maps used by Apple for GPS navigation are both delivered via cellular connection, which would imply that a driver would lose all voice recognition while driving outside the range of cellphone towers--e.g. through the mountains. The GPS navigation is a similar problem. Since the navigation data is delivered via cellular data, you would lose navigation in the mountains.

Much as I hate to admit it, I would prefer the Microsoft self-contained automotive voice recognition system to getting Apple iCars. Ford has demonstrated those in the past. I've also seen a reasonable implementation (non-Microsoft) on an Acura about five years ago. I'm not sure that this is a market where we should care about fragmentation. Just don't buy a car with a UI you don't like.

Lockin??? (2)

markdavis (642305) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825373)

>"offer more than a car stereo want to lock you into their interface and services"
>"The answer in one word: iCar."

Yeah right. Because Apple is a paragon of openness and anti-lockin combined with low prices and choice! No thanks.

How about at least AndroidCar? Or maybe LinuxCar. Perhaps then at least other manufacturers can be involved.

Should? (1)

lsolano (398432) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825403)

Why can someone think that Apple *should* do something in the cars ?

Apple isn't going to help. (1)

MaWeiTao (908546) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825425)

There are excellent in-car media and stereo systems out there, it all depends on what automaker you're looking at. The Japanese generally pack their cars full of buttons in an attempt to account for every little function. Americans are decent, but it depends on the car and the automaker. They generally suffer from cost-cutting measures and insufficient thinking about how a driver interacts with the car. It's worse when the automaker goes through third-party vendors for their hardware. Too many of those companies are has-beens incapable of innovating putting no thought whatsoever into their designs. Then you've got the Europeans who do put a lot of thought into driver interaction but you still run the risk of ending up with a system that's seriously over-designed and confusing.

I've come across some very well-designed systems. The most successful, in my opinion, don't require you to look away from the road very long, if at all, and are easy to learn. The problem is that as functionality gets deeper inevitable it gets more involved interacting with that stuff, demanding more attention from the driver. Tactile feedback is essential, making touchscreens in cars a huge mistake.

My big annoyance with this article is the suggestion that Apple is a master of user interface design. As far as I'm concerned that's a myth. Their interfaces manage to be elegant only because they're one of the few companies willing to sacrifice functionality for the sake of usability. So how would they approach a car? Would they decide that a handful of functions are all we need and build a single distracting control interface around that? Everything else would, annoyingly, require several more steps than they would have under traditional systems.

But the fact is that whenever Apple is forced to implemented added functionality their applications become just as cumbersome and unintuitive as any other bit of comparable software out there. Look at iTunes, or iWork or even iOS. iOS is no more intuitive than Android or Windows Phone 7. People will only feel that way about it because it's what they're familiar with.

The integration of software and hardware is where Apple excels. But they don't make cars so they lose that edge in the automotive space.

igoogle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39825443)

google will do it before apple

Voice activation, anyone? (1)

rgbatduke (1231380) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825517)

This issue isn't resolvable by Apple, it is resolvable with a true heads-up display and voice control interface that actually works. The technology for the former is long since there -- it just needs to be implemented. The technology for the latter is there but sucks. All we need is a car that understands you when you say "find 3218 Oak Lane and show me how to get there". What we've got is Garmin or the Prius navigator and silly keyboarding displays that you can't use while driving and that are a true pain to navigate all by themselves. A shame, really -- none of this is all that difficult to design, and we have plenty of cycles, enough to implement quite sophisticated interfaces. But even iPods don't understand me when I say "Play `The Soft Parade' album, you moron" to them.

Truly tragic. We will perfect the touchscreen interface and have near-universal pad-based computing and -- just like that -- it will all be obsolete when some bright lad or lady realizes that it is so very much simpler to tell something what to do than to key it in on integrated pad keyboards with "keys" the size of pencil erasers drawn on a touch screen, maybe.

And then, on to a true neural interface. Why should I have to even say anything? Why not just think it?

rgb

Already exists... (1)

David_Hart (1184661) | more than 2 years ago | (#39825535)

The article expresses the same lament that car buyers have had since the invention of the automobile, every manufacturer does things differently. A car is the ultimate closed ecosystem. Each manufacturer has unique parts, control layouts, maintenance codes, etc. This is done on purpose to generate additional cash flows from maintenance and repairs.

As for integrating the car entertainment and video systems, I recently bought a Kenwood DNX9990HD eXcelon 2-DIN Multimedia DVD Receiver With Navigation/Bluetooth/HD Radio which I am installing this weekend. It has full integration support for my iPod/iPhone/iPad, backup camera, external video, USB storage, and external audio. It also has built-in voice controls to control the various functions. The point is that, despite the opinion expressed, aftermarket integrated solutions do exist.

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