Apple Addresses Distracted Driving

By Lori Castle, Editor in Chief — March 04, 2014

While everyone in the mobile industry was at Mobile World Congress last week, Apple sat out and Tim Cook reportedly teased the audience of shareholders and analysts at the company’s annual meeting by starting off with the unveiling of new products.

Then, according to the Wall Street Journal, he said, "I'm just kidding. I gotta have some fun."

Maybe he is tired of setting sales records and not beating the Street. On the last earnings call, Cook said that 566,000 iPhones per day were sold during fiscal Q1, totaling 51 million. Compared to 47.8 million from the year-ago quarter, that’s an increase of 7%, and Apple’s new quarterly record.

But, at that time, he also admitted, “In North America, we did not do as well, and this weighed our results,” when has was asked why Apple is not gaining more ground in smartphones, in line, or faster, than the market is growing.

It seems that all investors and users want is whatever is next from Apple, ergo the joke from Cook.

CarPlay Works
However, just a few days after the lack of products surprised the audience, Apple announced that auto manufacturers—spanning the highest end vehicles to the more mundane—will be rolling out CarPlay, which the company calls: “the smarter, safer and more fun way to use iPhone in the car.”

Despite the name, this product seems to address both work and personal needs, offering a more intuitive way for users to make calls, use Maps and access messages with just a word or a touch. CarPlay is controlled from the car’s native interface or just push-and-hold the voice control button on the steering wheel to activate Siri without distraction.

Vehicles from Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo will premiere the product to their drivers this week, and it's coming soon to BMW Group, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai Motor Company, Jaguar Land Rover, Kia Motors, Mitsubishi Motors, Nissan Motor Company, PSA Peugeot Citroën, Subaru, Suzuki and Toyota Motor Corp.

Minimizing Distracted Driving
“CarPlay has been designed from the ground up to provide drivers with an incredible experience using their iPhone in the car,” said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s vice president of iPhone and iOS Product Marketing. “iPhone users always want their content at their fingertips and CarPlay lets drivers use their iPhone in the car with minimized distraction.”

Once iPhone is connected to a vehicle with CarPlay integration, Siri can be used to access contacts, make calls, return missed calls or listen to voicemails. When incoming messages or notifications arrive, Siri provides an eyes-free experience by responding to requests through voice commands, by reading drivers’ messages and letting them dictate responses or simply make a call.

Driving directions become more intuitive by working with Maps to anticipate destinations based on recent trips via contacts, emails or texts, and provides routing instructions, traffic conditions and ETA. Users can also ask Siri and receive spoken turn-by-turn directions, along with Maps, which will appear on the car’s built-in display.

The product is available as an update to iOS 7 and works with iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c and iPhone 5. It will be shipping in some cars later in 2014.

Meanwhile there are various reports that Apple is on a hiring spree in China and Taiwan where many of the phone components are made. This leads to speculation that, Cook will indeed have new products to reveal soon enough.


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