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The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
While this move may come under scrutiny as Ford promoting the usage of tablets while driving, the American automaker is just hoping to take a preventive approach believing that consumers are bringing those devices into their vehicles with them regardless. ”Drivers are bringing these devices into the car already,” said Ford spokesman Alan Hall. “We’re allowing them to access the content in a safer way.”
The tablet compatibility will allow drivers to control devices such as an Apple iPad, Kindle Fire, HP Touchpad, Nook Color, and Sony Tablet S – a variety of different tablet devices – through their voice. Ford hopes that this will allow drivers to keep their eyes on the road when they inevitably have the urge to do something on their tablet.
Now we totally get the people that sit there and try to text on their cellphones while driving, but who seriously tries to access their 7-inch or 10-inch tablet while driving? Either way, at least Ford is taking a proactive approach in trying to develop technology that will make the roads safer, but maybe we just need to expedite the whole autonomous car thing if people really can’t wait to access their tablets.
[Source: Huffington Post]
With the iPad 3 announcement scheduled for next week, the rumor mills are churning on what Apple has up their sleeves next. As with everything Cupertino-related, nothing will ever be confirmed until it comes out of Tim Cook’s mouth.
The newest rumor has Apple China posting a job listing on LinkedIn for a “SQE/NPI with over 4 years Mechanical engineering background familiar with CNC/die casting/stamping/plastic injection, can use APQP/PPAP/SPC to control product quality.” Now while seeking an employee isn’t exactly groundbreaking news or entirely revealing of the company’s intentions, there’s reason to believe that Apple could finally be looking at their own infotainment system.
It makes sense considering Brabus has already outfitted their Mercedes iBusiness S-Class with Apple products and aspiring entrepreneurs are taking matters into their own hands by developing their own in-dash head unit replacement to use with an iPhone. With how abundant iPhones are in this world and how many vehicles are on the road, it almost makes sense that Apple would somehow integrate an infotainment system to work with its devices.
Systems such as the Ford SYNC (which is now standard in the new Fusion and Flex) is powered by a Microsoft Windows-based system, Apple’s infamous rival in the marketplace. Other manufacturers such as Kia and Toyota also employ Microsoft’s services but we feel it’s the threat of Google’s Android into the marketplace that has Apple interested.
Sure Microsoft has almost a 10-year head start in the auto infotainment industry, but it’s Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS that rules the world now. Both mobile operating systems have already been used to seamlessly sync into vehicles and they have the most accessibility to functional apps. In addition, app developers around the world have already embraced what Google and Apple have to offer.
So what is it Apple could be making? Based on the job listing, it seems that they could be looking into manufacturing a device that will integrate into a car’s dashboard. Our guess is that it’ll be a very plain-looking, but sleek head unit that will wirelessly sync with your Apple device to stream music, movies, app data, and more to your vehicle.
[Source: Car News China]
Ford is taking a clever approach to virtually revealing the new 2013 Fusion sedan before its official debut at the upcoming 2012 Detroit Auto Show. Using an app, now available on Android and iOS systems for smartphones and tablets, is an augmented reality game app where users can virtually drive the new Fusion through a series of worlds that unlock to reveal the car.
Each track is loaded with video clips featuring insight on technology and design from key Fusion team members. A daily video clip will unlock more content to the app every day with demonstrations of key vehicle features on the new 2013 Fusion.
When the vehicle finally debuts at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show, users will be able to unlock access to the full image of the car. At that point, they will also be able to drive any of the four Fusions on the virtual track in addition to creating a custom image of the car to share via Facebook or Twitter.
The all-new Ford Fusion will also be the Official Car of the 2012 CES show.
Check out an app walkthrough video after the break.
A few weeks ago, we told you about the mystery surrounding the missing license plate on Steve Jobs’ silver Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG. Was it a payoff to the cops? Did he have a permit to drive plateless? It turns out he just wanted to be “different.”
iTWire had the chance to talk with Jon Callas, the CTO of Entrust, who had worked at Apple in various senior security roles. And according to Callas, Jobs had found a loophole in California vehicle laws that allowed him to legally and permanently drive without a licence plate.
Taking the Apple motto of “Think Differently” to the roads, Jobs learned that a new car can drive without a licence plate for a maximum of six months. Jobs made a deal with the leasing company: he would swap his old car for a new one during the sixth month of the lease. Jobs always got identical silver Mercedes SL55 AMGs, so one would have to have a very keen eye to be able to spot the differences. This meant that Jobs never owned a particular SL55 AMG for longer than six months, therefore he never had to put a licence plate on it.
Fiat is the latest automaker to launch a new Apple application, and the Italian automaker has based the app on the 2012 500. The free app offers an in-depth look at the 500 including a historical design timeline of the iconic Fiat 500.
App users can view galleries of four emerging artists, including a graffiti artist, a 17-year old professional photographer, a painter/ sculptor, and an illustrator. The app also includes a Fiat 500 vehicle catalog, with detailed 360-degree images, videos and product information as well as wallpaper and sketch downloads.
[Source: Car Tech Blog]
Porsche has released a unique application called the Porsche 360° app for the iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch. This app allows for an up-close driving experience without actually sitting inside one of the sports cars.
The app allows users to ride shotgun, alongside Porsche driver Jeroen Bleekemolen for a lap around the Zandvoort circuit. While in the simulator, the user can choose any viewing angle by moving the Apple product into the according direction.
This app is currently only available in The Netherlands, but is also in the App store in co-operation with Porsche AG.
Check out the Porsche 360° video after the jump!
Apple has officially rejected any inclusion of DUI checkpoints in its iOS apps. In this week’s Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple updated its app store to prohibit applications informing users of DUI checkpoints.
This recent update was a result of a group of U.S Senators sending numerous letters of concern to Apple, Google, and RIM, asking the smartphone companies to remove and disable all apps that would inform users of DUI checkpoints.
Section 22.8 states:
Apps which contain DUI checkpoints that are not published by law enforcement agencies, or encourage and enable drunk driving, will be rejected.
Developers may be able to remove the DUI functionality from their apps, however most of the programs that identify law enforcement activity pertaining to checkpoints and speed traps are crowd-sourced, which means users submit the checkpoints themselves without app developers knowing what they’re identifying.
We knew it was just a matter of time once Apple introduced its next-generation of products (most noticeably the iPad 2) that Brabus would be updating their iBusiness package on Mercedes-Benz‘s S-Class luxury sedan. Geared towards becoming the world’s fastest mobile office, Brabus stepped up their game some more on their Brabus 800 iBusiness 2.0 demo car, pushing out 800-hp and 1,047 ft-lbs of torque, giving it a top speed of 219-mph.
The heart of the iBusiness 2.0 is essentially in the excess use of Apple technology throughout the cabin. A Mac Mini is installed in a leather-lined tray in the trunk, connected to a 15.2-inch TFT display that is revealed from the alcantara headliner. The display is also hooked up to be an auxiliary display to the two iPad 2s that can be found on the adjustable custom tables found behind each front seat. Along with each tablet is an Apple bluetooth keyboard, giving its passengers full control to work on the road.
An Internet connection is always ready on the go also thanks to Brabus outfitting the S-Class with UMTS and HDSPA networking. Brabus has even developed their own app, allowing the iPad 2s in the backseat to control Mercedes’ COMAND system that’s normally taken care of by the front driver and passenger. Oh yeah, a 64GB iPod Touch can be found in the rear center console to adjust what tunes are being blasted through the S-Class or Sennheiser’s Noise Gard headphones.
The iBusiness 2.0 conversion is available for any S-Class model, from the S 350 to the S 65. Obviously the gaudy 800-hp is only available for the twin-turbo V12, but hey, some people might rather get to their destination a little slower with all the gadgets available to them. Angry Birds anyone?
Official press release available after the break.
GALLERY: Brabus iBusiness 2.0 Mercedes-Benz S-Class
iSupercar Sounds has developed an app for various Apple iOS products featuring sound clips and high resolution wallpapers for various luxury and exotic cars out there. From Ferrari to Lexus, iSupercar Sounds has you covered if listening to supercars is your source of pleasure. Hey, we’re not judging.
Currently there’s a free version of the app up on the store, featuring 30 minutes of ad-supported sound clips. Those that have $0.99 to spend can grab the full version which comes with 30 additional sounds. iSupercar Sounds is also promising weekly updates with additional cars. Not too shabby for under a buck, save yourself a trip to McDonald’s and you can stop using that juvenile fart app. OK who are we kidding, fart sounds are still hilarious.
[Source: DUB Daily]
GALLERY: iSupercar Sounds App
In luxury mad China, the most coveted brand by consumers is not Rolex or Apple, but BMW. A survey conducted by Clear Asia, a consulting firm based in Hong Kong, polled 2,500 Chinese consumers about their favorite brands, and the Bavarian auto maker came out on top, ahead of the luxury watch giant and the consumer electronics firm.
BMW’s traditional rivals, Mercedes-Benz and Audi, ranked 8th and 12th respectively, with BMW’s strong brand identity credited for helping trump its German counterparts. In worldwide rankings, BMW placed 3rd, behind both Google and Apple. A Clear Asia spokesman told Automotive News that the brand is “…as sexy and confident, exciting and sophisticated”.
[Source: Automotive News]
Not to be outdone by fellow luxury sedan manufacturer BMW, or aftermarket manufacturer, Brabus and their iBusiness, Mercedes-Benz has decided to outfit their line of luxury sedans with an iPad integration conveniently located on the headrests for passenger use.
The headrest-mounted iPad dock is similar to BMW’s offering and will allow rear seat passengers to comfortably use and charge their iPads. We’re guessing this is perfect for those busy businessmen traveling on the run, being driven around by their chauffeur to their next meeting. But we have to question, again, how comfortable using an iPad from the headrest of a vehicle really is.
And with the incoming surge of tablets from Apple competitors (powered by Android), are we going to be seeing a new generation of tablet integration in vehicles of the future?
AC Schnitzer has become the first aftermarket tuning company to utilize the power of phone applications. And while Android is gaining on the iPhone’s popularity, there’s no denying that going with Apple’s brainchild first is the smart thing to do.
AC Schnitzer’s iPhone app is completely free to download and allows you to stay up to date with all of the company’s happenings. You’ll also be able to hear and check out videos of their exhaust systems and view various AC Schnitzer vehicles that are for sale.
And just to have a little more utility than just a giant AC Schnitzer ad, they offer a “Park Service” option which is basically just a GPS-locator to store where you park your car and how to get back to it later.
And with AC Schnitzer now acting as a pioneer, we have to think it won’t be long before other tuners start releasing their own Apps.
[Source: GT Spirit]
Apparently the adage of “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” stuck with some Brabus engineers. The famed Mercedes-Benz tuner is apparently a huge fan of Cupertino’s prized child stuffing a modified 750-hp Mercedes-Benz S-Class with every Apple product they possibly could.
We won’t get into much details on the actual engine and aesthetic modifications since it’s run-of-the-mill Brabus and is actually old news for the S-Class, but rather the nerd in us can’t even count how many Apple components are in the vehicle. The headliner has been integrated with a 15.2-inch TFT display with screens in the back of each front headrest. USB ports are integrated into the rear compartment to allow hook-up of any other devices while UMTS and HSDPA provides wireless Internet. We’re not quite sure how that will translate over to America since T-Mobile is just now launching HSDPA+, but we’re guessing you lucky Sprint 4G users can just WiMAX your phone and provide all the passengers with fast Internet.
A paid of iPads can control the entire Brabus multimedia system along with the car’s Command system, tying-in full functionality with the factory radio, navigation and phone. And possibly taking a note out of Rolls-Royce’s design handbook, Brabus outfits the S-Class with two tablet computers with Bluetooth keyboards that fit comfortably in the Brabus rear tables. There’s plenty of space in these infinitely adjustable tables, giving room for documents, a mouse and/or keyboard.
And best of all, special compartments were designed to hide all of these Apple components from plain sight when you leave your vehicle. Brabus says that the multimedia system can be offered in any S-Class from the S350 to the S65.
GALLERY: Brabus Mercedes-Benz iBusiness S-Class
Official press release available after the break:
Nissan sure knows how to target future customers for the Nissan Leaf. At Steve Jobs’ keynote speech this week, the Apple CEO unveiled the new 4th generation iPhone, and what product made a prominent appearance to display the new iAd system? Why, the Nissan Leaf, of course!
The Apple demographic is probably more open to an electric car than PC users, and Nissan is well aware of this. Not only was the Leaf front and center during the demonstration, but there was even a nice, good look at the Leaf reservation form, with Steve Jobs name and email address already filled in. How subtle. Apparently, this is all part of a contest Nissan is running, and users can view various features of the car, look at a 360 view of it by tapping their fingers along the touch pad, and register for more info, but this is still a very astute marketing move by Nissan.
The new iPhone goes on sale July 1st, while the Leaf hits the market later in 2010. But unless your name is Steve Jobs, good luck getting one – this years allocation is already spoken for.
Gallery: Nissan Leaf iPhone Ads
Volkswagen is leading the rush to tablet-based publishing with the creation of a new magazine exclusively for the Apple iPad. Called “Digital Automotive Space” or DAS, the magazine can be obtained via a special app that can be downloaded by iPad users. The magazine will be published quarterly, and features articles, technical information and interactive images, like 360 degree views of cars, in 5 languages. Volkswagen plans to launch a web based version for standard computers sometime after the app’s launch.
Volkswagen has previously partnered with Apple for the 2010 GTI launch, introducing a driving game highlighting the car, while giving away six real GTIs to lucky players.
[Source: Edmunds Inside Line]
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This idea treads dangerously close to our idea of a “hipster hitchhiking” app that combines GPS, iPhones, and gold leggings — currently in beta testing — but still, using your phone to find a ride to work is a brilliant idea.
Provided there are people who are going the same way and aren’t creeps, of course. This free RideRemedy app (for the first three months) doesn’t reveal the email addresses or phone numbers of those using the program. After three months of carpooling, the program costs $4.99 per year — with ten per cent of the proceeds going to organizations intent on improving the environment.
Other features include:
- • Find a ride, create a car pool, share a cab, reduce your carbon footprint and save time and money while doing so.
- • Privacy: RideRemedy does not share phone numbers or email addresses with other ride sharers.
- • Utilize in-app text messaging. Incur no additional costs for contacting ride sharers within the RideRemedy application.
- • Obtain just-in-time matches or post your ride weeks in advance.
- • Calculate dollar savings and CO2 emission reduction for each ride.
- • Set variable time and distance preferences for finding matches.
- • Share rides anywhere in the world that your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch has data service.
If you’re so inclined, head over to the iTunes Store and try it out.
While technically not about Cadillac themselves, it is about the future of where the company wants to take the brand. In order to appeal to more tech-savvy (read: younger) buyers, the automaker has partnered with Cool Hunting to deliver a feature and style-rich application for the Apple iPad.
Other than the fact we’re in love with the music over the demonstration — 1901 by Phoenix — and the overall impression is of a slick, easy-to-use application that dovetails perfectly with where Cadillac sees their future buyers.
If you’re into this sort of thing, check out the post regarding the challenges design house BBH Labs faced when developing the app.
Oh, Apple. Always coming up with ways to improve the user experience.
The picture above is from the 2011 Ford Edge and its groundbreaking MyTouch dashboard, which we’re using because it’s currently the most advanced in-car display. But it looks like everything, plus the kitchen sink, was put onto the screen. The result is very un-Apple like simplicity.
Apple apparently feels they should share some good design with drivers, according to technology site Engadget. In the upcoming iPhone OS 4.0 software exists an “iPod Out” mode, generating a simple menu that’s fed via a video output.
While we can’t comment on the choice of music in the clip below, we will say it looks far nicer (and simpler) than anything a manufacturer has yet shown. While some think this could pave the way for Apple-branded in-car accessories, we say: “Give us an Apple car stereo!”
See a short clip of the “iPod Out” mode after the jump:
Toyota has offered to test Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak’s Prius after he claimed the vehicle’s electronics can cause it accelerate unintentionally.
Wozniak’s claims made headlines when he claimed his 2010 Prius’ accelerator “goes wild” under certain conditions. He says he can repeat the acceleration issue and suspected the Prius’ software as the culprit.
Toyota has long maintained is the acceleration problem is not a electronics-related issue. The Prius is not included in the company’s recent recall, however, so if Wozniak’s suspicions prove true, Toyota’s problems can only get worse.
Toyota, already under a storm for its trouble with unintended acceleration, is trying to contain the PR damage by offering to have a dealer borrow and test Wozniak’s Prius for a week. Toyota is trying to get Wozniak in touch with U.S. sales president Jim Lentz to help make arrangements.