Could Apple change the way we drive at WWDC 2013?


Apple’s 2013 Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) is fast approaching, which means the rumor mill is working overtime. The WWDC doesn’t open until Monday June 10 in San Francisco, but Apple geeks can’t wait to know what will come out of it.

This year, that includes people who like their tech to come with four wheels and an engine. Apple is making an incursion into automotive infotainment and smartphone connectivity, and that momentum is likely to continue at the 2013 WWDC.

We’ve gathered up the latest rumors on all things Apple and automotive; we’ll see who was right when the dust settles.

Siri Eyes Free

Chevy and Honda are already preparing models with “Siri Eyes Free,” which allows iOS-equipped drivers to use Apple’s voice control system to operate vehicle functions and, theoretically, keep their eyes on the road.

That trend is likely to continue, with Apple signing up more carmakers for the system and using a more car-friendly version of iOS to integrate it with onboard infotainment systems.

With iOS 7 reportedly on the horizon, Apple has an opportunity to refine its devices’ ability to connect with cars.

However, major changes probably won’t be seen in showrooms for some time. Apple reportedly needs to do more in-car testing and finalize its arrangements with the carmakers.

Check out our hands-on preview of Siri Eyes Free here.

Apple Maps

Apple’s assault on the dashboard begins with GPS. 9to5Mac reports that Apple hopes to make its Maps system a viable alternative to traditional in-car navigation systems.

The redesign won’t be limited to software: Apple is reportedly working with carmakers to redesign center consoles so an iOS device could easily be plugged in and act as a car’s onboard GPS.

A car equipped with the new setup wouldn’t need an onboard navigation system, just a display and the hardware required to connect with an iOS device. This would be similar to the phone-based navigation system Chevrolet is working on.

Relying on an iOS device for navigation could save weight and cost by removing some unnecessary equipment, and user/drivers would get an interface they are used to.

Further down the road, Apple’s involvement with carmakers could have an even bigger impact on interior design.

If Apple really is working on center console designs, it could potentially create infotainment hardware of its own. It will be interesting to see what happens when Apple tries to get its devices onto the dashboards of cars that already have connectivity hardware, like Cadillac’s CUE and Ford’s MyFordTouch touchscreens.

It would also be interesting to see if any carmakers will offer an Apple-connection option package specific to the iPhone for customers dedicated to the computer brand.

What happened:

As it turns out, details were scant at WWDC save to say a dozen carmakers have signed on for more Apple in their cars. Navigation will of course be a natural extension, but with the enhancements coming from iOS 7 in regards to Maps, Apple’s Music app and enhanced Siri functionality, suffice to say Apple has it’s sights set on your dashboard, and most tasks will be controlled by voice. Read more here

If a carmaker offered an Apple-specific infotainment system, would that sway your buying decision? Comment below

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