Noted by USA Today this week, Volkswagen used the the Shanghai auto show as a platform to announced the iBeetle; an iPhone-friendly version of the standard 2013 Beetle. Launching during early 2014 with a handful of notable elements that combine Apple and Volkswagen design, users will find an integrated iPhone 5 dock on the dashboard above the GPS and music system. Conceptually, this will allow the driver to utilize hands-free iPhone 5 applications while operating the vehicle. All integration with the iPhone 5 occurs wirelessly, thus an upgrade to the next iPhone may be as simple as swapping out the docking frame on the iBeetle.
Volkswagen is currently building custom applications for the iPhone 5 as well. For instance, auto enthusiasts will be able to check out data like exact oil and coolant temperatures, g-force measurements when the vehicle is taking a corner and a compass view to make sure you are heading in the right direction.
Another application will allow iBeetle owners to compare different routes when it comes to fuel use, total distance and time. This could be ideal for anyone that wants to shave a few minutes off their morning commute to work or simply want to spend a bit less at the gas pump each week. Users can also upload this data to social networks, likely a play to encourage competition between co-workers and friends.
Another application offers text-to-voice functionality for standard text messages or updates on social networks like Facebook and Twitter. Continuing down the list, another application sends the driver’s GPS location to friends on a digital map and yet another app automatically sends photos of what you are doing in car to social networks like Facebook. However, it’s unlikely that anyone will want to give up their privacy and use that every day. In addition to these custom Volkswagen apps, music applications such as Spotify can be used to stream music through the iBeetle’s stereo system.
Beyond the iPhone 5 integration, features offered on the outside of the vehicle include 18-inch Galvano Grey alloy wheels with chrome wheel covers, chrome iBeetle badges placed on the front fender, black-sill kickplates on the door with the iBeetle signature as well as side mirrors and trim panels in Galvano Grey.
Regarding the interior, the car’s owner can also add a Galvano Grey steering wheel, a customized shift lever grip, Galvano Grey dash accents and sport seats in black leather.
Influenced by Apple’s color choices for products, the color choices for the paint job on the Volkswagen iBeetle include “Oryx White Mother of Pearl Effect, Deep Black Pearl Effect, Black Monochrome, Candy White, Platinum Grey and Reflex Silver.” These colors are also found on products such as the MacBook Pro, iPhone and iPad. Volkswagen has not released information related to engine and transmission options for the iBeetle and will wait until closer to the launch date to announced those details. Volkswagen is also silent on the price of the iBeetle, another detail that will have to wait until 2014. At this time, Volkswagen hasn’t announced any plans to release a version of the Beetle that’s compatible with Android or Windows Phone devices.