Apple lines up in-car entertainment with Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and others

Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo are demonstrating a new in-car user interface from Apple at the Geneva International Motor Show this week.

Named CarPlay, the interface allows iPhone users to access Apple services including maps, music, and messages via the vehicle's built-in voice control, or through Apple's Siri service. Messages are read out through the car's audio system, and the service also allows users to make calls and listen to voicemails.

"We have an amazing line-up of auto partners rolling out CarPlay," said Greg Joswiak, Apple's vice president of iPhone and iOS Product Marketing, pointing to forthcoming deployments by 13 car makers, which in addition to the trio mentioned above also include BMW, Ford, General Motors, Honda, and Jaguar Land Rover.

Joswiak added that the service "lets drivers use their iPhone in the car with minimised distraction".

Using the service requires an update to Apple's iOS 7, which will make it compatible with the U.S. vendor's iPhone 5, 5s, and 5c models. It will be available in a few cars in 2014, the company stated.

Apple's announcement comes hot on the heels of several connected car developments at the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona late February.

Qualcomm expanded its Snapdragon automotive range with a new LTE-Advanced Category 6 Gobi platform, and revealed it is providing its expertise to Google for the software company's Android operating system.

Nakal Duggal, vice president of product management at Qualcomm, said the company is still evaluating whether to join the Open Automotive Alliance, a project Google launched in January that aims to boost use of Android in vehicles.

Meanwhile Telefónica and U.S. carmaker Tesla at MWC demonstrated in-car television, which was connected via the Spanish incumbent's mobile network, the UK's Independent newspaper reported.

Such in-car services raised some concerns over driver distraction, however, with one journalist, in a conversation overheard by FierceWireless:Europe in the MWC press room, stating he nearly crashed the car. The journalist offered the caveat that he's more used to driving on empty country roads than Barcelona's busy streets.

PSA Peugeot Citroen was announced as one of the first carmakers to embed the Connected Car Consortium's MirrorLink platform during MWC. The French car manufacturer is due to display two cars featuring the platform at Geneva this week, the CCC said.

The platform is designed to connect smartphones to cars, regardless of device manufacturer or operating system.

For more:
- see Apple's CarPlay announcement
- see Qualcomm's Gobi release
- see the Independent's MWC article
- see the CCCs PSA Peugeot Citroen announcement

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