Apple In Cars—What Does It Mean For the Auto Industry and Google?
Apple Inc. shook the car industry at the Geneva Motor Show when it declared that it will play a key role in the future of cars, bringing their technology to the world’s second most connected device. This is an interesting announcement in many ways but, most importantly, it is the first time that Apple will work with third parties (car companies) to incorporate its technology. In the past, it had chosen to build its own eco-system and be in charge of its own destiny. With a forecast of one in every two new cars (about million) produced and connected by 2020 globally, what could this mean to Apple, and most importantly, to the tech giant’s competitors who are yet to enter the fray?
First and foremost, let’s take a look at the product: Apple CarPlay. What is it? CarPlay is essentially an Apple smartphone integration and replication solution, similar to MirrorLink, which allows for integration of an Apple device within the car, specifically for iPhone 5, 5S, and 5C. The key feature is using the built-in vehicle human-machine interface (HMI) controls, such as steering wheel buttons, touchscreen, or SIRI from the iPhone, to control a variety of features present in the phone, such as phone, text, music, and navigation.
Some of the key features that make Apple’s value proposition interesting in the car are:
iTunes Radio Bundle – The CarPlay integration includes iTunes Radio, which was launched last September by Apple and has now become the third most popular US internet radio service after Pandora and iHeartRadio. Furthermore, a few car companies like Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. are also integrating iAd on iTunes Radio. Specifically, Nissan is incorporating this within their 2014 Rogue, Versa Note, and LEAF EV to support crucial company-related marketing and communication campaigns. In addition to offering apps like Spotify and iHeartRadio, CarPlay’s integration of iTunes Radio will be a key differentiator from an integrated app perspective (as a matter of fact, the popularity of iTunes Radio has forced SAMSUNG to offer a rival-free internet radio service called Milk).
Advantage of SIRI – SIRI is the world’s most famous (and currently best-in-class) natural speech engine which has transcended from the Beta stage to a fully functional, robust feature with male and female speech options. Despite the lack of popularity during the first partnership attempt with car companies to integrate SIRI as a standalone feature three years ago (General Motors (GM), American Honda Motor Co. and Mercedes-Benz commercialized it), CarPlay includes SIRI in its complete bundle. This is definitely a positive move as consumers want to control their smartphone in their cars using speech solutions.
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