Apple fans have been itching to see the tech giant flex the full muscle of its iOS operating system in an automotive infotainment system for years, which is why we turned all sorts of excited when we caught wind of the Volkswagen iBeetle. The machine is headed to the Shanghai Motor Show for a debut, and VW promised it would be one of the "first cars in the world to have a genuine integrative interface for the iPhone that was coordinated with Apple." Listen closely, and you can hear the contented sigh of a million wallets opening.

Go ahead and close those up, kids.

In reality, the iBeetle offers little more than a dash-mounted dock and a special app that shows a few vehicle functions, which is about as far from an infotainment revolution as you're likely to find. In fact, the setup is little more than a factory rehash of aftermarket items, and hardly worth a whole model debut at an international motor show. And that's to say nothing of the fact that Apple relishes in changing the shape and form of its darling handheld at every generation. Volkswagen better be prepared to keep pace with appropriate docking mechanisms for the upcoming iPhone 5S, 6, 6S, et al.

This is the kind of kit we expect to see as a bullet point on an option sheet, but instead, VW has made this dock+app an entire model by including special "Disc" wheels and iPhone-matching color schemes. The iBeetle will land on dealer lots in the US in 2014, but you can probably make something similar yourself today with an aftermarket dock and an iTunes gift card's worth of third-party apps. Scroll down for the full press blast.

Update: Now with live images from the show floor in Shanghai. Enjoy.
Show full PR text
VOLKWAGEN DEBUTS THE iBEETLE AT THE SHANGHAI AUTO SHOW

The iBeetle is first Volkswagen with newly developed docking station and a special iPhone® application

Wolfsburg/Shanghai - Two iconic products will form an alliance later this year: the iPhone from Apple, and the Beetle from Volkswagen. The iPhone will interface with the Beetle and Beetle Convertible via a specially developed app and a docking station. The iBeetle is the first model line from the Volkswagen Group in which the iPhone will become an integrated component.
Volkswagen offers two different ways to acquire the innovative interface between iPhone and Beetle: as an app or as a standard feature of the new iBeetle and iBeetle Convertible. Both special models will be launched at the beginning of 2014. The app, docking station and iBeetle will make their world debut at the 2013 Shanghai Auto Show (20th to 29th of April).

The interface

The newly designed docking station is located centrally on the dashboard of the Beetle: the iPhone simply snaps in to integrate it with the car. Essentially, all iPhone functions can be used in the Beetle; the iPhone can be used to navigate, make calls hands-free, listen to music, and much more.

The Beetle app

When this special app is launched on an iPhone, it can either connect the phone to the Beetle via the docking station or wirelessly. Each option allows for different app functions to be accessed:

Spotify: lets users stream media such as new songs, customized playlists or online radio stations into the Beetle. Those who wish can post their favorite music directly to friends. In addition, users in the Beetle can switch between "Spotify" and "iTunes" at any time.

Expert: offers five functions which make the iPhone an extended on-board instrument of the Beetle, such as a G-Meter (for measuring lateral acceleration), oil and coolant temperature gauges for the engine, a chronometer, and a compass.

Trainer: can be used to compare driving times, distances, and fuel economy values for different routes between any two destinations. Here, too, tips can be posted via social networks like Twitter and Facebook-such as which route is faster to the office.

Reader: lists the latest messages from social networks like Facebook, and reads iPhone messages aloud.

Postcard: Sends the current location of the Beetle to friends as a digital postcard with a map motif.

Photo: Sends photos taken inside the car to numerous social networks. Simply activate it, and the app does the rest.

Milestones: Available when the smartphone is undocked. Rewards its users with virtual "milestone stickers" for the Beetle when certain tasks have been completed.

The iBeetle

The iBeetle is one of the first cars in the world to have a genuine integrative interface for the iPhone that was coordinated with Apple. As mentioned, the special model will be available as a Coupe and Convertible. The colors and equipment features of the iBeetle are stylistically linked to the Cupertino-based US company, bringing its iconic smartphones into harmony with what is certainly one of the world's most iconic automotive designs.

The iBeetle, which will be available in early 2014, will come with other customized features in addition to the standard iPhone interface. On the exterior, they include standard features such as 18-inch "Disc" alloy wheels (painted in "Galvano Grey" with chrome wheel covers), door mirror housings and side trim panels (above the sill) in "Galvano Grey", black door sill plates with the "iBeetle" signature, "iBeetle" chrome badges (on the front fender) and a "Chrome pack" (includes chrome trim strips on the sides). In a nod to the iPhone's color scheme, the new iBeetle can be ordered in "Candy White", "Oryx White Mother of Pearl Effect", "Black Monochrome", "Deep Black Pearl Effect", "Platinum Grey", or "Reflex Silver".

Inside, steering wheel accents and the dash pad are executed in "Galvano Grey". The iBeetle is also upgraded by a customized shift lever grip, black sport seats in "Vienna" leather, and contrasting seams in light "Ceramique".

About Volkswagen of America, Inc. Founded in 1955, Volkswagen of America, Inc. is headquartered in Herndon, Virginia. It is a subsidiary of Volkswagen AG, headquartered in Wolfsburg, Germany. Volkswagen's operations in the United States include research and development, parts and vehicle processing, parts distribution centers, sales, marketing and service offices, financial service centers, and its state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Volkswagen is one of the world's largest producers of passenger cars and Europe's largest automaker. Volkswagen sells the Beetle, Beetle Convertible, Eos, Golf, Golf R, GTI, Jetta, Jetta SportWagen, Passat, CC, Tiguan, Touareg and Routan vehicles through approximately 600 independent U.S. dealers.

Notes: This press release and images of the 2014 iBeetle are available at media.vw.com. "VW", "Volkswagen", all model names and the Volkswagen logo are registered trademarks of Volkswagen AG. "iPod" is a registered trademark of Apple, Inc.

Features and technical data apply to models offered in the USA. They may differ in other countries.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 30 Comments
      ChrisH
      • 1 Year Ago
      LOL - Sad. Owning a 2013 TDI Beetle Convertible here are my comments about iPod/etc integration. First, this is in the space where the Turbo and TDI models have a three gauge cluster, so it must be a base model item, if it replaces the gauges its a serious down grade. Second, Beetles come with an iPod/MP3 connector in the lower glove box - certain models even come with the connector for the iPod; the long edge connector. Third, if your taking your music with you then use a SD card, its faster and better playback. Its just as easy to organize, the audio system can playback Apple AAC files natively. So, I agree with the articles yawn fest here. Now if it plugged into where the itsy bitsy nav display went I might be more impressed, but even then why would I want thief bait?
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
      icemilkcoffee
      • 1 Year Ago
      How quickly the shine is coming off the apple.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @icemilkcoffee
        [blocked]
      The Wasp
      • 1 Year Ago
      Here's an idea...how about just include the $1 plastic bracket thing for free? With all Beetles. And make the app free also. I wonder how much this will cost the iFools. I suspect they will sell a lot more of these on the Golf and Jetta.
      akitadog
      • 1 Year Ago
      It looks like a company will do ANYTHING to be seen with Apple. I waited 4 years to upgrade from my 3GS to the new iPhone 5, and it's a piece of crap compared to my 3 in terms of reliable service. Quality has gone downhill, and I'm inclined to switch to another OS if it gets any worse.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @akitadog
        [blocked]
          The Wasp
          • 1 Year Ago
          Having used both, I don't think the Android OS is lower in quality than iOS. Sure, there are some two-bit companies that only make an app for iOS and not for Android -- but the number of apps on both platforms is in the hundreds of thousands.
          akitadog
          • 1 Year Ago
          Seeing as my phone OS choice is not an "either-or" proposition, I have no clue what you're ranting about.
        Wallaby
        • 1 Year Ago
        @akitadog
        What are you talking about, akitadog? I upgraded from a 3GS to a 5 and couldn't be happier. Outshines my 3GS in terms of speed, battery life, call quality, and everything else.
        aka20p
        • 1 Year Ago
        @akitadog
        seriously, i have no clue what you are on about.
      Thipps
      • 1 Year Ago
      and the hipsters rejoice...
      joe23521
      • 1 Year Ago
      Not to mention Apple's habit of changing their proprietary connector design every few years, which periodically renders all accessories useless. Much better to go with the standard micro USB connection which would work with ALL Android devices.
        ReturnZero
        • 1 Year Ago
        @joe23521
        Yeah, in 10 years there will be a new style connector - the horror. Micro USB didn't even exist 10 years ago.
          • 1 Year Ago
          @ReturnZero
          [blocked]
        aka20p
        • 1 Year Ago
        @joe23521
        every 10 years is hardly every few years...
      Mike J
      • 1 Year Ago
      One day a manufacture will make a universal dock and stop making things i-exclusive.
        Bigbmc26
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Mike J
        And websites with lots of different types of car lovers will build an app for more than just iOS...
      Wally SirFatty
      • 1 Year Ago
      I think this will cater to the iPhone crowd very nicely.
      telm12345
      • 1 Year Ago
      Terrible, just terrible. More so for Apple than VW.
      desinerd1
      • 1 Year Ago
      Imitation is sincerest form of flattery - Toyota
      rsxvue
      • 1 Year Ago
      I would never buy a car with this feature or any car that has "apps" -- the part of that interior would become obsolete as soon as the phone does. I would rather have manufactures use a universal form of connectivity such as bluetooth then have an optional dock (depending on the customer's phone preference) that isn't so integrated to the dash/interior.
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