Do you want iOS in your car?

Anna Scantlin
Contributing Editor from Kansas City, MO
Published: March 1, 2014

Taking a break from the traditional talk of smartphones and tablets that I normally do, I decided to write my article today regarding the speculation that a new type of technology will be emerging from a company that we are quite used to hearing about. Apple, as it turns out, allegedly has plans to roll out the new "iOS in the Car" operating system to certain car manufacturers starting as soon as next week. While technology in cars isn't anything new in itself, Apple making an operating system specifically for cars is. 

It seems like a fair idea given that a lot of modern cars already connect to phones and operate through screens in the cars via Bluetooth. However, it's debatable that the way cars connect to phones right now are as beneficial as they seem to be. Many systems are laggy, have trouble connecting with phones and sometimes don't respond the way we want them to. However, if a company like Apple comes along will that make car tech a more desirable feature in cars?

I've never really been interested in car tech. Most of my friends have some sort of screen in their car that hooks up to their phone via Bluetooth, but I've gotten to the point where I am so annoyed by distracted drivers almost hitting my car that if it's not the radio playing or a passenger in my car talking to me, whatever is going on is simply not happening until I am pulled over and parked somewhere. I have a better chance of surviving if at least one person is paying attention - somebody has to get out of the way, right? Too many people care more about what's going on in that screen rather than what's going on in the road in front of them. It's for that reason that I am somewhat concerned about the progression of technology in cars.

Now, I do realize that what Apple has planned for cars is probably (hopefully) not going to be that detailed. The images of iOS for the Car showed four options: calling, music, GPS and what looked to be an SMS bubble. Although I would like to think that SMS could have been left out, I suppose as long as each aspect is via voice dictation then I wouldn't have as much of a problem with it. The main problem with sending a text in cars now is that people are taking their eyes off the road, darting between road and phone and thinking they're safe, in order to send a short text. It doesn't matter if they're sending a "Lol" or a "See you soon", the problem is that they're taking their eyes off of the road to do so. Even dealing with phone calls and maps on a phone can be iffy because you're still taking your eyes off the road to hit specific buttons. 

But despite all of these issues that come with using your standard smartphone in cars, I'm not totally on board with something like iOS in the Car either. I guess part of me still feels that too much is going on in the car tech-wise that leads to increased distracted driving. I don't mind radios because it's a physical knob that I can feel without doing so much as looking away from the road ahead of me. I can adjust the volume with the same physical knob. If I absolutely need to make a phone call I usually pull over; the same goes for texts. As for GPS, that all gets worked on ahead of time. The GPS starts telling me where to go before I even get out of park. There is just too much at stake to make any room for careless driving, and as much as I love tech I am a firm believer that there are things tech can do to make our lives more complicated. Implementing them in cars, in many ways, can do this. 

I could be viewing this entirely wrong, though. Perhaps this new iOS in the Car will help people not to use their phones, which is, I admit, probably worse than dealing with an integrated system already in the car. At least then the driver wouldn't have to shift their focus or take a hand off of the wheel to accomplish any of the things that iOS in the Car will allow them to do. I am interested to see how it pans out for Apple as well, as shifting to creating software for cars would be something that no other smartphone platform has done before. I wonder if other platforms will follow?

Readers, what are your thoughts on iOS in the Car? Would you want this new operating system in your car, and do you think it will help solve the issues that accompany people who use their phones in their cars? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Images via AutoBlog, iMore

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