Apple's iOS7: Too little, too late for automotive market, says expert

August 23, 2013 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
At its recent developer conference WWDC, Apple pitched its new operation system iOS7 for automotive deployment. Now Frost & Sullivan expert Krishna Jayaraman got granular on Apple's system software. Though iOS7 offers significant improvements with regards to the interfaces and better voice control functions for the SIRI personal assistant, the announcement came much too late for the automotive market, Jayaraman said.

"In comparison to other players such as Microsoft or Google, Apple's commitment to the automotive industry remains very much out of focus", the expert said in a statement. "Apple's announcements regarding EyesFree and the integration of iOS7 are a predictive, reflexive reaction at best. ... "Though interesting, iOS for cars simply comes much too late to the market".

In 2012, Apple announced an "EyesFree" partnership with nine automotive OEMs. This even triggered rumours that this could be the next megatrend for the connected car and that Apple could potentially overthrow the hegemony of traditional tier ones and assume a much bigger role in the connected vehicle of the future. Hitherto only GM, Honda and Mercedes Benz have implemented Apple's application. Other OEMs continue to focus on the prioritization among SIRI and their own native embedded voice processing systems where, among others, Nuance is an important technology provider. So far only GM successfully developed Spark and Sonic which include SIRI as a feature. BMW is believed to follow in one of their 2014 models.

"Apple's announcements do not contain much threat potential for the market of traditional infotainment systems in the car", says Jayaraman. "While OEMs such as BMW reject this new solution it is ideal for several niche OEMs because they can benefit from such a pre-packaged solution". In this context it is an advantage that iOS is already a proven and widespread platform in the smartphone market. However, while specific development and design processes as well as app shops focused to the automotive market are available, these offerings are restricted to application fields music, telephony and navigation. Beyond this, the availability of SIRI to control smartphones and native vehicle functions would be a huge benefit.

Apple claims that iOS has been adapted by a significant number of OEMs - among others, Honda, Mercedes-Banz, Nissan, Ferrari, Chevrolet, Kia, Hyundai, Infiniti, Volvo, Vauxhall/Opel and Jaguar. Notably absent in this listing is