It seems that Apple is on target with the potential launch of the “iOS in the Car” feature, with the iOS 7.1 beta screenshots indicating that the next major iOS update will unlock those features on compatible devices. The screenshots show a toggle button in the Settings menu, labeled “Car Display.”
iOS in the Car allows compatible iOS devices to connect to a car’s infotainment console, through either wireless protocols or via a USB cable. An iOS interface for managing Maps, Messages, and Music appears on the infotainment system’s display.
A number of car manufacturers, including Acura, Mercedes-Benz, Infiniti, Ferrari, Chevrolet, Hyundai, Volvo, Opel and Jaguar, have already confirmed hardware and in-car setup to support the iOS in the Car feature. Earlier this month, Honda became the first car maker to announce the HondaLink feature with the 2014 Civic launched in the U.S.
At the WWDC in June 2013, Apple chief executive officer Tim Cook had said that iOS in the Car is a key feature that Apple is developing. “I see it as very important. It’s a part of the ecosystem. Just like the App Store is a key part of the ecosystem. And iTunes, and all of our content are key. And the services we provide from messaging to Siri and so forth – having something in the automobile is very, very important. It’s something that people want, and I think Apple can do this in a unique way – better than anyone else. It’s a key focus for us,” he said.
This would just be the start of a series of upgrades and new features that the Cupertino giant has in store. Apple is said to be working on a new Maps app, which will add indoor mapping and transit directions functionality. The company is also testing ways to integrate the iPhone’s sensors with the in-car dashboard systems.