updated 09:28 pm EST, Fri February 28, 2014
Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz, Volvo to be among initial partners
The nine-months-in-the-making formal rollout of "iOS in the Car" appears to finally be taking shape, and Apple is expected formally announce partnerships with Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo to bring the multi-media technology into the companies' future automobiles, sources tell the Financial Times. The "in-car operating system" give drivers access to Maps, Siri, media, voice calls, dictations and more.
The platform, first introduced at Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference last summer, gives in-car infotainment systems a familar iOS-like interface (with a landscape orientation) that allows drivers to interact with key features of their iPhone, iPad or iPod touch safely. In addition to incorporating the technology behind the "Siri Eyes Free" mode that has been employed in a number of vehicles already, iOS in the Car works seamlessly with the existing car entertainment system to direct video, music, voice calls, iMessage, satellite navigation, Maps and Siri abilities to screens as required by the driver or passengers.
The three carmakers named in the report were among a longer list that were mentioned at the WWDC presentation, with the other companies likely to announce their own implementations as news about the 2015 car model year get closer. The three, along with Alfa Romeo and Nissan, were among the first to offer iPod integration in vehicles back in 2005.
There has been speculation that Apple had difficulty finalizing iOS in the Car technologies, possibly due to a delay in getting iOS 7.1 out, which contains a number of API "hooks" crucial to its implementation. The release of v7.1 is now expected sometime next month. A video (since removed) showing an iOS developer tool running a 7.1 emulator demonstrated how iOS in the Car would work, barring additional tweaks and revisions that are still ongoing.