To the AppleMobile!

June 22nd, 2012
"Apple" "Honda" "GM" "Audi" "BMW" "TomTom"

Apple has been making strides in technology for several decades. Now, they’re getting into the automotive industry in a field referred to as ‘infotainment’. Apple announced several up and coming projects that will affect many other brands.

After a falling out or unsatisfactory terms with Google, the iOS6 will have a proprietary map system. If you are not familiar with iOS, it is the software interface most Apple devices. The new map system is being created using data from TomTom, the in-vehicle GPS manufacturer.

While we can be sure that the contracts between Apple and TomTom are profitable, there is another element that may indicate TomTom is ‘digging their own graves’. Apple has announced recently, along with this proprietary map system, that iOS6 will offer turn-by-turn navigation.

With a phone that simulates a GPS in every way, motorists would no longer require the additional device. Not every one owns an iPhone 4S, which will be required as SIRI is the voice application used to call out turns, so there are still sales opportunities. However, this will certainly hurt the bottom line to some degree.

Further cutting into TomTom, Garmin, and other GPS manufacturers market share, these larger brands are currently selling iOS apps that provide turn by turn navigation and maps systems. With iOS6 coming packaged with that ability, those sales are surely gone.

To coincide with this effort, Apple has launched the ‘Eyes Free’ campaign and acquired another partner that may be doing itself in. Harman International Industries, a current industry leader of car ‘infotainment’ is working with Apple to create a steering wheel button that activates SIRI.

This feature will allow drivers to utilize the GPS and any other SIRI driven functionality without taking their hands off of the wheel or eyes off of the road. The implementation of the steering wheel button developed by Harman, will cause a good deal of Harman’s own products to be replaced with the iPhone or iPad.

So which vehicles will carry all of this amazing integration? The top nine major brands are already on board. Audi, BMW, Chrysler, General Motors, Honda, Jaguar, Land Rover, Mercedes-Benz and Toyota are all officially adopting this feature at launch. With that many big names, vehicles in almost all price ranges will have this technology and it won’t be long before more automakers sign on.

What will happen to other brands whose products used to fill various needs in the automotive infotainment industry? Only time will tell, but Apple’s new technology integration would have even David Hasslehoff’s character from Knight Rider envious.

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