Monday at Apple's WWDC keynote, VP of iOS software, Scott Forstall, made the announcement that Apple will finally be getting involved with the auto industry. It has been a long time coming. Many automakers have already tried to persuade the big fruit to collaborate on in-car tech, but it was always rumored that Apple wasn't interested. But now, it seems they have changed their minds and want to make their Siri voice recognition software the focus of in-car control. It's called "Eyes Free," suggesting that a driver won't have to take their eyes off the road to use their iPhone while driving. Instead of fumbling with the iPhone, drivers will be able to press a steering wheel-mounted button to activate voice control (much like Ford's Microsoft Sync system). Using voice command--likely over the vehicle's Bluetooth--drivers will be able to select their favorite music, find directions to a new restaurant, or text a friend and tell them they are running late.

Apple has already lined up BMW, General Motors, Mercedes, Land Rover, Jaguar, Audi, Toyota, Chrysler and Honda to make in-car Siri support a reality within the next 12 months. That's a pretty big list and a pretty ambitious timeline when dealing with automakers, but we welcome the haste. Not much else is known right now, but we assume it won't be long until we're hearing directly from the car manufacturers on this new functionality.

In addition, Apple has brought even more convenience to commuting with their new mapping system. It's been rumored that Apple would drop Google Maps and create their own interface with stunning 3D-generated maps. Not only has Apple done this, they have finally brought turn-by-turn navigation to iOS. The all-new mapping system also features Yelp integration--which you can assume will also be controlled with Siri.

One of the main advantages to Apple's mapping system is that it works with anonymously collected, crowdsourced traffic data to reroute users around dense traffic.

This news is big because it shows that Apple is ready to get involved with cars. If things go well, we can expect to see greater integration of Apple's technology in future vehicles. Even though many carmakers have been working on their own solutions, Apple has shown over and over that they can take something that works and make it even better.

[Source: Engadget]

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