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Apple hits the connected car market

Apple has signed up a significant number of auto manufacturers to support its plan to offer iOS integration on the car dashboard and then use the increasingly common built-in dash display and steering wheel controls as the UI.

You get into your car, whip out your iPhone and slot it into the dash where it recharges and controls the entertainment and information system at the same time. This seems the most sensible approach in a the car-owning world where 100 per cent smartphone ownership is just around the corner.

With iOS 7 and its recently-announced extra goodies, Apple calculates it can make a dent in this emerging market against other smartphone integration approaches and auto-makers own built-in systems (see video below). One feather in its cap is the new, enhanced Siri, Apple's much-aclaimed voice control system for the iPhone. Through Siri 'Eyes Free' users will be able to control the system entirely by voice.

Those that can't be so controlled, applications which in the normal course of events might require visual attention (like a video, for instance), are ruled out by the on-car system, but that leaves a lot of highly useful car-journey companions - Apple's iTunes Radio, for instance, Apple maps for turn-by-turn sat nav (oh OK, maybe not maps) to name just a few.

This smartphone/tablet integration approach seems like the most likely to succeed on the car in the long run - it being just another environment in which you will want access to your personal cloud with all your favourite electronic goodies in it.

Apple claims it has so far enlisted a string of auto-makers including Nissan, Mercedes Benz, Ferrari, Infiniti, Hyundai, Volvo, Honda, Acura and Opel.

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It's only an Apple rumour and these are often (in fact nearly always) wrong, being attempts at price manipulation or simple mischief-making somewhere in the supply-chain. The latest should therefore be cured and air-dried in the traditional manner before use.

It holds that Apple is looking to introduce two iPhones in the biggish (4.7 inch) and very big (5.7 inch) range while at the same time it may be preparing cheaper iPhones in a range of colours for users in the $99 bracket. It might well turn out to be true despite having no basis - simply because something like that seems to be the most viable option open to Apple if it wants to keep its 'innovative' tag.

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