Apple's "iOS in the Car" operating system, which would let drivers access various iPhone functions through a car's built-in screen, is set to head out of the garage next week, says a report.
Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz, and Volvo are the automakers on board for the launch, said the Financial Times, which cited unnamed sources in reporting that the official announcement will take place at the Geneva Motor Show. The FT said neither Apple nor the carmakers would comment.
Apple talked up iOS in the at its Worldwide Developers Conference last year, with VP Eddy Cue -- a Ferrari board member -- showing a mockup of a car's LCD with Apple menu buttons for maps, phone, music, and messaging. Cue said the functions could be accessible via Siri as well. Many cars already include integration with iOS music functions. Cue said Chevrolet, Ferrari, Honda, Jaguar, Mercedes, Nissan, Volvo and others would be introducing iOS integration this year.
Beyond smartphones, "the bigger opportunity for Apple and its ecosystem is becoming essential not just for people texting, checking news, watching movies, and playing games, but for massive growth areas such as transportation, home automation, and health care," CNET's Dan Farber noted last week, following a report that Apple's head of mergers and acquisitions had met with Elon Musk, CEO of electric-car maker Tesla, in 2013.
Apple's rivals are also aware of those opportunities. The Wall Street Journal reported in December that Google had teamed up with Audi to develop in-car entertainment and information systems based on its Android OS. And, of course, on the home automation front, Google is set to buy Nest for $3.2 billion.
Here's Eddy Cue talking about iOS in the Car at last year's WWDC: