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Apple promises iOS maps, messaging integration in cars

At its Worldwide Developer Conference keynote, Apple claims Honda, Mercedes, Nissan, Ferrari, and Infiniti are all working on functional integration of more iOS features in their cars.

iOS in the car
This mock-up shows what heavy iOS integration with a car might look like, with menu buttons on the car's screen.
James Martin/CNET
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Confirming an earlier rumor, Apple announced heavy integration between iOS and cars during its WWDC 2013 keynote.

Details were sketchy at the keynote, but Apple Vice President Eddy Cue said that Honda, Mercedes, Nissan, Ferrari, Hyundai, Kia, and Infiniti, among others, were integrating more features from iOS into their cars, making maps and iMessages available on a car's LCD.

Currently, many cars include integration with iOS music functions, letting drivers plug their iOS devices into a car's USB, then see and select music from the car's LCD.

A presentation photo at the keynote showed a mock-up of a car's LCD with Apple menu buttons for maps, phone, music, and messaging. Rather than use Apple's menu-button style, as shown in the mock-up, automakers would likely want to use styles coherent with their dashboard interfaces.

This new integration would make it safer to use an iPhone's functions in the car, as they could be controlled and viewed on the car's dashboard, as opposed to a driver holding the actual phone.

Cue said this integration could come out as soon as 2014, so likely in a 2015 model. However, with the slow pace of automotive development, it would likely be available only on a few models initially. Automakers will also need to do extensive testing of the integration technology to make sure it is safe and can stand up to an automotive environment.