When Audi says it is going to have apps available for download to its cars by the end of the decade, it doesn't mean an app like Bejeweled 2 – it means an app like heated seats. Taking the term "app" back to its more expansive origin in "software application," Audi plans to make cars upgradable after the purchase by allowing owners to download software that would activate hardware already installed in the car.

An evolution of the touchscreen introduced on the latest A8 would provide the user interface. Navigation, chassis, and audio software upgrades are mentioned as other possible uses of instant reconfigurability, but with all that's run on code nowadays we imagine almost every aspect of the car could be touched by the development. Along with making its products more adaptive "learning machines," having equipment pre-installed, even if not activated, would also streamline the build and could save the company money over the long term. It could also open open up an interesting opportunity for aftermarket hacking, but we digress...

[Source: Autocar]