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Fresh on the heels of yesterday's news that iOS 7 will feature a "flatter" UI, 9to5Mac reports that Apple now wants to get into your car's dashboard. Specifically, Apple is reportedly working with automobile manufacturers to include iPhone docking stations in new cars, thus allowing Apple Maps and Siri to be used through the exisiting console screens instead of the the current built-in GPS systems.
That's good news for those of us who like the pleasing aesthetic of Apple Maps, but it's somewhat disheartening for those of us who've been burned by Apple Maps' infamously poor directions in the past. (On a personal note--to date, Apple Maps still says a nearby Wendy's is four blocks north of where it actually is, even after attempts at correction.) Bringing Apple Maps up to par with Google Maps would go a long way toward facilitating manufacturers' acceptance of the proposal.
According to 9to5Mac, "Sources have described this as a feature akin to a video-out or mirrored display representation of the iPhone’s Maps app onto the bigger screens included with most modern vehicles. This is unlike the new Volkswagen iBeetle car that simply holds an iPhone running a third-party app." As GottaBeMobile reports, this plan seems to resemble Nokia's efforts to translate the interface of their Symbian smartphones to the larger screens commonly used in car consoles with their MirrorLink technology.
Photo via 9to5Mac.
Apple plans for users to control the Apple Maps interface through Siri, although Siri, too, is known for its unreliability. Accuracy isn't the only hurdle, though; such an ambitious project would also require extensive integration of Siri into the car itself. Last year's "Eyes Free" Siri service was the first major step in this direction, as it allowed drivers to interact with Siri through their cars and with the iPhone's display turned off. During the last WWDC, Apple announced that it was working with working with manufacturers such as BMW, Toyota, Audi, Honda, and Land Rover, and it's likely that Apple's working with these same companies to develop this ambitious new project.
The technology involved is based on iOS 7, but it may be awhile yet before we're able to use it. Further deals need to be made, more tests need to be completed, and, well, Siri and Apple Maps need to improve. Still, the extra wait might be worth it. 9to5Mac also reports that recent patents filed by Apple point suggest the new software will also allow you to unlock your cars remotely and find them in crowded parking lots, extending Apple's plan to merge car and phone far beyond mere GPS convenience.
Swap some Apple Maps mishaps with this article's author, Leif Johnson, on Twitter.