iOS in the Car Development Plagued by Organizational Issues

Organizational issues have been plaguing Apple's development of iOS in the Car, according to The Information's Jessica E. Lessin (via AppleInsider). Because iOS in the Car did not fit neatly into an existing hardware or software team at Apple, executives reportedly "didn't quite know what to do" with the program.

ios_car_7_1

iOS in the Car from iOS 7.1 (Source: Denis Stas)

The disconnect is attributed primarily to overarching organizational issues that are said to place pressure on non-hardware products that do not fit within existing teams.

Even in the lead-up to iOS in the Car's high-profile unveiling at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference last June, executives were reportedly still unsure about the product's future.

According to Lessin, the team working on iOS in the Car was forced to "lobby hard" for stage time during the Worldwide Developers Conference where the product was first demonstrated.

Since that time, iOS in the Car has been listed as an iOS 7 feature "Coming Soon" on Apple's website with no update on its availability. The feature is intended to provide enhanced iOS integration in automobiles, offering an iOS-style interface on the car’s touchscreen dash that allows users to make phone calls, access Maps, control music, and more.

Recently, developer Steven Troughton-Smith released both screenshots and a video of iOS in the Car in action, as the software is partially built into iOS 7.0.3 but unaccessible by default.

The iOS in the Car content shared by Troughton-Smith appears to confirm some of Apple's struggles with the software. While one design is depicted in the video, Troughton-Smith's screenshots and commentary on Twitter indicate that iOS in the Car has undergone a redesign from its early depiction on Apple's website and at least one other redesign in iOS 7.1, which is currently available for developers.

Video of iOS in the Car in iOS 7.1 (Source: Denis Stas)

Apple CEO Tim Cook has said that iOS in the Car is a "key focus" for Apple and the company believes that "having something in the automobile is very important," but it remains unclear when iOS in the Car might make its official debut.

While many car makers have expressed interest in including iOS in the Car in their 2014 models, cars with the feature have yet to materialize. Thus far, in-car integration with Apple devices remains largely limited to Siri Eyes Free and Honda's HondaLink, which falls well short of full iOS in the Car functionality.

Related Roundup: CarPlay

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Top Rated Comments

LordVic Avatar
137 months ago
this is not something I see apple really doing well in. They might have a better time with some sort of mountable 2nd screen or 3rd party head unit that can be installed.

but if Apple wants to be able to sell this as a built in headunit for a car, they're going to have to allow it to communicate with all platforms, including Android and WinPho8.

People purchasing cars that are dozens fo thousands of dollars aren't going to be happy to then be stuck with a "smart" headunit that can only talk to iOS devices.

I know when I bought a car a couple years ago, which i spent a good chunk of my income on. If you told me the only way to get most of the functionality out of the headunit was getting an iPhone, I would have likely walked out of the dealership.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
smulji Avatar
137 months ago
if there wasn't issues they wouldn't be doing anything. Issues lead to progress.

sure, as long as the issues get fixed.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Krevnik Avatar
137 months ago
I wonder how the car manufacturers will deal with this. Having integration with IOS only, could not be a smart decision. I would only assume you would have to be able to integrate with any one of the ios, android or windows systems, so car manufacturers would not to be turning customers off or away.

Guess it comes down to maybe being able to order which operating system you require as an option before taking possesion. Would hate to be the owner then, that has both an iphone and an android.

I'll expound a bit on my previous post to make this clear what iOS in the Car is:

The whole goal here is to let the phone export video to the head unit and accept touch input from it. Nothing more. By keeping the software on the phone itself, it reduces problems in the long run. This isn't new technology.

AppRadio, MirrorLink, iOS in the Car. They are all really the same thing in the end. Just different implementations of the same idea. If a head unit supports both MirrorLink and iOS in the Car, they cover both Android devices and iOS. You already see Pioneer units that support both their AppRadio system for iOS/Android and MirrorLink for Android units.

And this won't replace existing inputs in head units either. It is just another 'mode' the head unit can be in.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
SusanK Avatar
137 months ago
I really hope this feature comes to fruition. In car interfaces are absolutely awful, and Apple has a huge opportunity here to make some big progress.

If Apple ever stops talking about innovation and starts innovating :mad:
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Rogifan Avatar
137 months ago
Wow so big companies have organizational issues. Color me shocked!
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Krevnik Avatar
137 months ago
this is not something I see apple really doing well in. They might have a better time with some sort of mountable 2nd screen or 3rd party head unit that can be installed.

but if Apple wants to be able to sell this as a built in headunit for a car, they're going to have to allow it to communicate with all platforms, including Android and WinPho8.

Apple's not making their own head unit. They are engineering the protocol between the iPhone and the head unit, and providing the software in iOS itself. Think AppRadio, only baked into iOS. The head unit needs to support the protocol (AirPlay over USB + Touch Input back to the phone over USB).
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)