Automobile: The Next Major Technology Platform – Part III – Apple Enters Car as a Platform Arena, GM’s Dan Akerson

Janet Wagner, June 21st, 2013

The final post of this three-part series features the concept of the Automobile as the next major technology platform as well as Apple’s entrance into the Car as a Platform arena. Please be sure to check out part one and part two.

ProgrammableWebAt the June 2013 Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), Apple announced some of the new features in iOS 7, including enhanced in-car integration described by Apple as “bringing an Apple designed experience into the car for the first time.”

Apple IOS

Image Credit: Apple Inc.

The entrance of Apple into the Car as a Platform arena has sparked a great deal of interest as reported on Forbes, PC Mag and USA Today.

Apple’s iOS in the Car allows an iOS device (starting with iOS 7) to interface with a vehicle’s in-dash system. Using voice activation or the vehicle dashboard, users can play music, display maps, make phone calls and use other types of in-car infotainment applications.

Apple iOS In The Car will be available starting in 2014 and among the car manufacturers that will offer the new iOS in-car service are Chevrolet, Chevy, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan and Volvo.

Automobile Will Become The Next Major Technology Platform

On June 13, 2013, Dan Akerson, the Chairman and CEO of General Motors, spoke at the CEO Club of Boston about the potential of in-car connectedness.

In the speech, Akerson refers to a recent study done by J.D. Power which determined that more than two-thirds of new car buyers already own a smartphone. The study also revealed that for 80 percent of car buyers, connectivity strongly influences the new car purchase decision.

General Motors already provides some in-car connectivity through the OnStar service, which currently has more than 6 million subscribers. However, the car consumer of today is looking for even greater in-car connectivity, infotainment and more advanced in-car services. In the speech, Akerson states that:

“We see the automobile becoming the next major technology platform – and one with far better battery life than an iPhone… Imagine that your vehicle can predict that it needs a new battery and then automatically schedules a visit to your dealer before it dies on the Mass Pike in rush hour. How cool would it be to have your car automatically call Dunkin’ Donuts when you’re a mile away so your coffee and cruller are ready and paid for when you pull up?”

According to Akerson, General Motors intends on turning “millions of our cars and trucks into nodes on the Internet” through the global deployment of 4GLTE. In the United States and Canada starting in 2014, all of the brands General Motors manufactures will offer 4GLTE.

In addition, the recent launch of the brand new GM Developer Portal provides tools and resources for developers to create third-party 4G-optimized applications for General Motors brand vehicles. Akerson comments on the new developer portal in the speech:

“To really blow this out, we need to borrow from the smartphone playbook and entice thousands of “codaholics” to write apps for our cars. This is the strategy that made Apple and Android the dominant players in their space, and it’s why we’re sharing our remote and in-vehicle application interfaces with third parties through a new website called developer.gm.com. With an army of coders working to write 4G-optimized programming for our cars, our GM App Shop may someday be as popular as iTunes or the Android Marketplace.”

Conclusion

In-Car Connectivity is heavily trending in the automotive industry and the Car as a Platform wars are just beginning. The rise of mobile and in-vehicle platform connectivity would not have been possible without the advent of APIs.

ProgrammableWeb has been tracking APIs since 2005 and has long been analyzing and reporting on the incredible influence APIs are having across nearly every industry. The automotive industry is just the latest industry to be transformed by APIs, which industry will be next?

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