iCar by Volkswagen and Apple
There are rumors of Apple and Volkswagen joining their efforts to create a new line of compact cars christened “iCar.” (They may be facing the same problem as they did with iPhone and Cisco since Mitsubishi is already producing an “i-Car” in Japan. But that’s beside the point.)
Market experts estimate that a compact car upgraded with Apple products would be of substantial interest to young target groups, according to German financial magazine Capital.
We don’t know much about it yet, but it is safe to assume that Apple product integration in the car is going to be way better than in any other currently produced vehicle. Not to mention that the said integration will be a lot more seamless and aesthetically pleasing – something most current vehicles don’t have.
Since the car will bear a name from Apple’s repertoire, all the knobs, buttons and other gadgets inside will be Apple-style, and therefore will not only help the seamlessness of product integration, but will probably have the same type of functionality familiar to all those who use Apple products. The familiar logic of functionality will make the learning process faster (sometimes you just don’t know how to turn something on in a new car!), more user-friendly, and operating while driving – more convenient.
The convenience is a huge factor, especially when in motion. For example, most cars seem to have a pretty standard set of climate control features – simple and easy to use. The non-factory stereos, on the other hand, seem to get more and more complicated. I drove my car for about 4 months with the wrong time displayed on the stereo because I didn’t want to go through the trouble of figuring out how to change it (after multiple failed attempts). With functionality like this it’s almost hazardous to use the stereo while driving. The motto of every driver (for things other than driving) is “don’t make me think.” Luckily, Apple is popular for is the intuitive and user-friendly interface (sometimes too user-friendly) which will be its strong point in the iCar as well.
While car stereo manufacturers seem to move away from the user-friendliness aspect, Apple tends to make their products simpler with less buttons, yet with equal or greater functionality than said stereos. Every iPod generation has about the same navigation functionality and about the same look, but each new generation is significantly and noticeably better than the previous one (barring the G5 and G5.5). Apple constantly improves their products, which enables them to have such a loyal following and to entice new users.
People who spend most of their lives driving want simple and quick functionality and I think Apple with its current mentality of “less is more” will accomplish that with the workings of the iCar, perhaps even for those who never touched an Apple product before. The mechanics, on the other hand…eh, not so sure, but that’s not my department.