For those of us who have recently done a little car shopping you probably noticed that just about every car manufacturer has an integration option for your mobile devices –be them MP3 players, smartphones or even tablets.
So far, Apple hasn’t really played much of a part in that process aside from adhering to standards (like using Bluetooth or charging with USB dock connectors), but that may soon change.
Word on the street (via a head hunting post on LinkedIn) suggests that Apple may be on the lookout for a “Supplier Quality Engineer/New Product Integration supervisor with experience in CNC/die casting/stamping/plastic injection.” In English, this means they are searching for an Engineer with experience in the automotive sector.
Of course, all we can do is speculate at this stage. Is Apple looking to create an iOS flavor for vehicles? What seems more likely is that they want to be able to better tailor their devices and accessories to compliment the new vehicle designs.
This is a good thing as much as a bad. While it would be delightful to have full iOS integration in my new Ford (which features a beautiful touch screen interface designed by Microsoft of all people, with more features than I have so far figured out) I worry what that might mean if I did decide to switch to an Android (or any other platform) device before such time as I buy a new vehicle. Even though I don’t anticipate making a change, you just never know; there was a time not that long ago when I would have told you I couldn’t see myself carrying anything other than a BlackBerry too.
One consideration is that with the cost of implementing these fancy touch-screen systems and options, and with so many of us carrying around touch-screens in our pockets, purses and briefcases, why are we adding this redundancy? Wouldn’t this be delightful if you could just dock your iPhone or iPad right into your vehicle console (or into the seat-back so your children can watch Netflix on your device) and use that directly?
That approach would also accommodate the use of Siri for safety while driving and let you use already-purchased applications (such as those used for GPS and Geocaching) instead of limiting your options to those provided by the vehicle manufacturers.