The Car Wars: Ford Versus Apple

iPhone on dashboard

The Siri button: Coming soon to a vehicle near you

While the iCar once envisioned by Steve Jobs will probably never materialize, that doesn’t mean the Apple experience will never infiltrate our cars.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has announced that the Siri personal assistant will not only reside in our iPhones, she will soon take up residence in our cars.

According to Cook, within the next 12 months, drivers will be able to hit a button on the steering wheel and instantly connect with that now-familiar disembodied voice so many of us have become reliant on.

BMW, General Motors, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar, Audi, Toyota, Chrysler and Honda have all signed on for the experience Apple has called Eyes Free. Bloomberg BusinessWeek says,

You’ll be able to ask Siri questions without taking your eyes off the road. To minimize distractions even more, your iOS device’s screen won’t light up. With the Eyes Free feature, ask Siri to call people, select and play music, hear and compose text messages, use Maps and get directions, read your notifications, find calendar information, add reminders, and more. It’s just another way Siri helps you get things done, even when you’re behind the wheel.

You might have noticed that Ford is absent from the list of early-adopter automakers. I’m just going to take a guess here and venture to say that is probably due to Ford’s committed relationship with Microsoft for the MyFord Touch system. Remember the old Mac vs. PC television ads? This new development puts Ford firmly on the PC side of things while virtually every other automaker gets to tap into the vast Apple empire.

This goes way beyond simple in-car technology. Apple’s announcement will create a fundamental difference in the perception many car shoppers have of car brands. Suddenly Apple’s “cool factor” has become injected into vehicle marketing. It raises the distinct possibility that the tens of millions of Apple fanatics will cross Ford off their lists simply because its vehicles aren’t Apple-friendly.

With Apple integration coming to our cars, the shift from the horsepower wars to the tech-platform wars has begun.

Would the option to connect with Siri through a new car impact your decision to buy it?


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1 Comment

  1. My new car is one of those with integrated phone controls and bluetooth, but I admit my phone doesn’t have bluetooth and I don’t use it in the car anyway. You can count on the electronics and car industry to push this technology in the guise of reducing driver distraction, which is a lie, and it will keep getting worse until this stuff is legislated out of cars. It’s been well proven that ANY use of these devices, including hands-free, is distracting.

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