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Exclusive: Hidden contacts revealed within Apple's iOS in the Car

post #1 of 75
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A closer examination of iOS in the Car, unveiled at Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference last month, reveals both a deeper glimpse at its user interface and indicates it's actually a real product, not just a conceptual demo.

An initial report detailed the origins of iOS in the Car and how Apple says it will work, while a second examined the competition Apple faces in automotive and why it's pushing so hard for an immediate launch next year. A weekend editorial further outlined the strategic importance of Apple's iOS in the Car.

Demonstration Man



In a public announcement quite rare for Apple, Eddy Cue, Apple's senior vice president of Internet Software and Services, the group that manages iTunes, iCloud, the App Store, iMessages, Siri and Maps, outlined iOS in the Car as a major new initiative for the company, one that's set for launch next year.

After reviewing the new features of Siri slated to appear in mobile devices running iOS 7 this fall (below), Cue segued into automotive, noting, "Siri is also a big part of our next feature, 'iOS in the Car.'"

Siri iOS 7


Cue set the subjunctive mood with the logic, "95 percent of cars sold today have integrated music playback and control from an iOS device. But we want to take this integration to a whole 'nother level. What if you could get iOS on the screen that is built into your car?"

He then quickly demonstrated a series of features for the new interface, jumping from a Siri-assisted hands free calling screen to set up a call (below), to audio playback (including support for "third-party audio apps"), to Maps with traffic and 3D turn-by-turn directions, to iMessage integration for listening to incoming messages and dictating a reply Eyes Free.


iOS in the Car Phone


Source: Apple


Real or mockup?



Cue's demo, as well as the images Apple uses to portray iOS in the Car on its iOS 7 preview website, framed the new interface in a car dashboard equipped with a large power button and LED illuminated volume controls as well as a Home button with the icon of a house, all together a very non-Apple looking setup (below).


iOS in the Car UI


Source: Apple


The "House" button seems particularly off because the iOS in the Car screens feature their own software Home button, which is itself a new thing for Apple.

All existing iOS devices have always supplied a single hardware Home button, and no iOS screen presents a software alternative apart from the special Assistive Touch accessibility mode first introduced in iOS 5 (below).

iOS 5


It seems like iOS users would likely be confused by two buttons, both in close proximity and which work nothing like their iPhone or iPad; the physical power button would appear to turn the screen off, and is much more prominent than the actual, but virtual, Home button above it.

If you drag images off of Apple's iOS 7 preview webpage, you can see that Apple's user interface is actually being framed by a separate graphical layer of the dashboard: the images are not photos of a real car interior, they are compositions.

On its iOS 7 preview site, Apple also obscures the button bar depicted at the top of the screen in its WWDC demo video; the equivalent Maps image Apple has on its preview website covers up the buttons with a large incoming message notification (below).


iOS in the Car iMessages


Source: Apple


At first glance, these oddities suggest that Cue's demo was simply an early stage mockup of what Apple plans to get finished soon, a conceptual interface of an early work in progress.

Dash: Are we there yet?



Apple's odd dashboard arrangement is explained by the fact that the company simply used an existing screen, bezel and dash design already in use by General Motors.

The screen and its frame is pulled directly from a 2014 Chevy Spark, which features those same buttons on an interface that appears to have been designed for your grandfather in the 1990s.

2014 Chevy Spark
Source: GM


Apple simply superimposed its iOS in the Car interface on top of the existing car layout of a company that it's already working with as a partner, one that's so confident in Apple's products that it recently released an ad for its new Chevy Sonic that focuses almost entirely upon the vehicle's Eyes Free integration with Siri running on "your iPhone."



The hidden interface for iOS in the Car's Contacts



However, there's compelling evidence that Cue's demonstration wasn't simply a series of mocked up graphics that anyone with a basic graphics editor could put together: there was more to be revealed in Apple's public demo.

If you freeze the video at the beginning, where Cue introduced Siri listening for the next command, you can see a strange, subtle artifact at the top of the screen.

iOS in the Car Siri
Source: Apple


Enhance!



If you process and enhance the video, an entirely new screen that Apple has never revealed in public appears: the Contacts page associated with selecting what appear to be Favorites, Recents, all Contacts, a dialing Keypad, and a harder to make out icon that appears to be Voicemail.

These details were actually presented on stage and captured in the video, but were latently hiding in the dark shadows of the histogram that nobody in the crowd of thousands sitting there in audience could actually see. It was literally right in front of their eyes, yet still invisible.


Source: AI Enhancement


It's actually easy to guess the functionality of these icons because they are identical to those Apple has revealed in its sneak peek of iOS 7 (below).

iOS 7 dialing
Source: Apple


If the interface for iOS in the Car were simply a conceptual mockup, it wouldn't make much sense to have developed a functional user interface screen that isn't even visible in the demonstration. Apple simply had more available to show than it intended to.

The first vehicles equipped with iOS in the Car are set to become available in 2014, from car makers including Honda/Acura, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan/Infiniti, Ferrari, Chevrolet/Opel, Kia, Hyundai, Volvo and Jaguar.

An initial report detailed the origins of iOS in the Car and how Apple says it will work, while a second examined the competition Apple faces in automotive and why it's pushing so hard for an immediate launch next year. An editorial further outlined the strategic importance of Apple's iOS in the Car.
post #2 of 75
Another interesting observation is the choice of car manufacturing partners.
They are partnering with both the economy class / high end ones.

Is it another cue stating Apple is going to target the middle tier of the phone segment ?
post #3 of 75
Quote:
If you process and enhance the video, an entirely new screen that Apple has never revealed in public appears:

Awesome.

 

But, if that is the real interface with that big power button and home button, sorry! 

Apple has to reinvent the dashboard.1smoking.gif

post #4 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chandra69 View Post

Awesome.

 

But, if that is the real interface with that big power button and home button, sorry! 

Apple has to reinvent the dashboard.1smoking.gif

 

I thought dashboard design itself was left to the car manufacturer :) . Apple's only doing the software implementation for now atleast.

post #5 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by nikilok View Post

 

I thought dashboard design itself was left to the car manufacturer :) . Apple's only doing the software implementation for now atleast.

They are.

 

iOS in the Car is not Apple hardware in the car. It is getting iOS from your iPhone onto the car's existing screen. That's why the Home button is there: it's to use the screen's built-in features when an iPhone isn't connected.

 

AI is totally wrong about this.

 

The very first paragraph at apple.com about iOS in the Car even says so:

 

"OS in the Car seamlessly integrates your iOS device — and the iOS experience — with your in-dash system. If your vehicle is equipped with iOS in the Car, you can connect your iPhone 5 and interact with it using the car’s built-in display and controls or Siri Eyes Free."

 

The in-dash system is NOT running iOS.


Edited by JLL - 8/8/13 at 4:21am
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post #6 of 75
Perhaps one of the Home buttons means drive to my Home.
post #7 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by nikilok View Post

 

I thought dashboard design itself was left to the car manufacturer :) . Apple's only doing the software implementation for now atleast.


exactly. it's taking the airplay approach. it doesn't matter which audio system or tv you have, as long as it has airplay built in or an appletv hooked up to it, you can airplay to it from an iOS device.

 

what apple is doing is pushing car manufacturers to add iOS in the car (airplay-ish) capability into their center console. that way the iOS device can take over the screen and look however apple wants.

post #8 of 75

I already think I see a glimpse into the future of were iOS in the car will head.

 

iOS could break off the small screen and instead go into the windshield. Like iRobot movie showing smart display technology on the windshield :P

 

And then fuse that with Augmented Reality, from the various vehicle sensors, the iPhone could be the little brain displaying useful information on your windshield / alternative display technology.

 

Which is part of why they are striving hard to get there Maps platform right now ...

 

Oh and like iOS in the Car, it could extend to become iOS @ Home. Siri that can turn on / off anything at home starting from your lights to water heater , to playing iTunes Radio for you anywhere in the home. Thats Big :)

post #9 of 75
@jll yes it was surmised (I think on AI?) that "iOS in the Car" is a form of airplay as far as the display goes -- meaning iOS is not running in the car dash, but on the iphone, but the car manufacturers will still have a computer with some apple-specified messaging protocol to negotiate screen touches, car settings, car health, and whatnot to the iphone software.

If so it is certainly a light form of integration.

Im pretty excited about this feature, nice that AI has occasionally dug some good reading out of it.
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post #10 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by dugbug View Post

@jll yes it was surmised (I think on AI?) that "iOS in the Car" is a form of airplay as far as the display goes

The articles on AI about this all write about iOS in the Car as hardware. Daniel even speculates if it means that Apple will let others make iOS hardware.

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post #11 of 75

Ha! A nice bit of detective work.

post #12 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by nikilok View Post

 

I thought dashboard design itself was left to the car manufacturer :) . Apple's only doing the software implementation for now atleast.

I meant not all the dashboard. At least the part of the In-Apple-thing-vicinity objects. 1biggrin.gif

post #13 of 75

I'm referring to this one if anyone is curious:

http://appleinsider.com/articles/13/07/09/hidden-ios-7-beta-option-points-to-ios-in-the-car-airplay-support-over-wi-fi

 

Yes, just pointing out I too think iOS is not running in the car but on the phone.  Makes way too much sense to accomplish this with a simple computer protocol, wifi, and airplay.
 

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post #14 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by caliban10 View Post

Perhaps one of the Home buttons means drive to my Home.

Actually, I thought the same!

post #15 of 75
Love the "Enhance!" CSI magic.
post #16 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by OllieWallieWhiskers View Post


exactly. it's taking the airplay approach. it doesn't matter which audio system or tv you have, as long as it has airplay built in or an appletv hooked up to it, you can airplay to it from an iOS device.

 

what apple is doing is pushing car manufacturers to add iOS in the car (airplay-ish) capability into their center console. that way the iOS device can take over the screen and look however apple wants.

If I can Airplay, why does it show the LTE signal on the dashboard screen?  

Showing LTE signal is relevant when that entire thing is independently working.

post #17 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chandra69 View Post

If I can Airplay, why does it show the LTE signal on the dashboard screen?  

Showing LTE signal is relevant when that entire thing is independently working.

 

Because LTE tells you you can make or receive phone calls.  Further, in the iOS 7 beta there is an ios in the car "over USB" or "over WIFI".  Presumably a car without WIFI could support the display.

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post #18 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chandra69 View Post

If I can Airplay, why does it show the LTE signal on the dashboard screen?  
Showing LTE signal is relevant when that entire thing is independently working.

Exactly. My Honda Pilot shows cell strength and battery level now when hooked via USB or Bluetooth.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dugbug View Post

Because LTE tells you you can make or receive phone calls.  Further, in the iOS 7 beta there is an ios in the car "over USB" or "over WIFI".  Presumably a car without WIFI could support the display.
post #19 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by nikilok View Post

I thought dashboard design itself was left to the car manufacturer 1smile.gif . Apple's only doing the software implementation for now atleast.

If there's any lesson you can learn from Apple, it's that hardware and software go together.

While Apple would not be making dashboards, you can be certain that they would influence the dashboard design.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dugbug View Post

I'm referring to this one if anyone is curious:
http://appleinsider.com/articles/13/07/09/hidden-ios-7-beta-option-points-to-ios-in-the-car-airplay-support-over-wi-fi

Yes, just pointing out I too think iOS is not running in the car but on the phone.  Makes way too much sense to accomplish this with a simple computer protocol, wifi, and airplay.

I've seen this comment several times (mostly from the "I'd never buy a car that would be tied to Apple's devices" crowd), but it doesn't make any sense. If they were to use iOS on the phone, you wouldn't be able to use the car's features if your iPhone was turned off (or if you left it at home). iOS would have to be running on the car.
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post #20 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


If there's any lesson you can learn from Apple, it's that hardware and software go together.

While Apple would not be making dashboards, you can be certain that they would influence the dashboard design.

Why?

 

What the in-dash system can do (and what buttons those features require) when an iPhone isn't connected to it isn't Apple's problem.

 

They even show a standard in-dash system in their demo.

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post #21 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

If there's any lesson you can learn from Apple, it's that hardware and software go together.

While Apple would not be making dashboards, you can be certain that they would influence the dashboard design.
I've seen this comment several times (mostly from the "I'd never buy a car that would be tied to Apple's devices" crowd), but it doesn't make any sense. If they were to use iOS on the phone, you wouldn't be able to use the car's features if your iPhone was turned off (or if you left it at home). iOS would have to be running on the car.

If it's integrated directly into the car rather than over the iPhone there may not be any way to disable detailed default location tracking that comes with iOS7. Apparently the service would be integrated with car navigation that requires location on, correct. Just as with Google there might be more than a few iOS users uncomfortable with anyone, even Apple, tracking and recording exactly where they've been, when, and how long they stayed there.

As only one of a couple reasons I personally think any dashboard services would come from the iPhone and not built in to the system itself.

EDIT: for those who don't know what is meant by the default location tracking there's a discussion here:
http://board.protecus.de/t42771.htm#360301
Edited by Gatorguy - 8/8/13 at 5:57am
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post #22 of 75

All you'd need is an Apple TV like device that could be built into the console and hooked to existing screen, power and entertainment systems.

 

It wouldn't cost too much per unit for car manufacturers to add them with aftermarket devices available for older cars and for car makers who don't get on board.

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post #23 of 75

Any word on whether there is a partnership deal with any after market car audio maufacturers for this. I was about to buy a Pioneer App Radio but will wait for this if there is one coming out.

post #24 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post


Just as with Google there might be more than a few iOS users uncomfortable with anyone, even Apple, tracking and recording exactly where they've been, when, and how long they stayed there.

It's local on the phone and can be turned off.

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post #25 of 75
A form of AirPlay via USB, WiFi, or Bluetooth is certainly the way to go. This means that the accompanying vehicle dashboard hardware needs minimal requirements...much like the AirPlay protocol itself across third parties.

All it needs to do is support touch & Apple's new AirPlay + Touch protocol (or whatever it is), and the iPhone does the rest.
post #26 of 75
Well it's more than just Airplay, since the protocol would have to be able to capture touches on the screen and communicate that back to the phone, and AirPlay doesn't do that on your TV.

And it might integrate with the car manufacturer's in-dash system, so there might be a standard interface/protocol for that--for volume and muting, if nothing else.

And I imagine that ugly Home button takes you out of iOS in the Car and displays the manufacturer's standard user interface.
post #27 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by rhopper View Post

Any word on whether there is a partnership deal with any after market car audio maufacturers for this. I was about to buy a Pioneer App Radio but will wait for this if there is one coming out.

No, but I wouldn't be surprised if some version of AppRadio will be compatible.

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post #28 of 75

Wow. AI has got this all wrong.

 

This is simply "ipod in the car" ver.2.0

 

Example

When you hook up your iphone5 to a 2011 or newer Audi via bluetooth OR USB, the following is sent to the cars display from the phone

 

Signal Strength

Battery power

Contacts

Ongoing call status

Playlists 

Albumart 

Currently playing info artist etc. (playlist albumart also works from 3rd party apps like Spotify)

 

Moreover, aftermarket carstereos have for years also made it possible to watch videos (tv-shows and movies) over the "ipod in the car" interface for years.

 

iOS in the car, will work just the same, but will send entire screens instead of just the data.

 

This will live inside one of the apps in the cars entertainment system, just as "ipod in the car" does today. If you haven't got an apple device, then you just use your cars normal cd / cassette player / AM radio as usual. and other crappy "apps" as usual.

post #29 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by JLL View Post

It's local on the phone and can be turned off.

Correct, it's the default setting (location on) but can be turned off if you know about it. If instead it's built in to the vehicle systems itself there may not be any way to disable it. In fact I'd be pretty surprised if you could. I don't see iOS7 running in a vehicle unless it's on an iPhone (or iPad?)
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post #30 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


If there's any lesson you can learn from Apple, it's that hardware and software go together.

While Apple would not be making dashboards, you can be certain that they would influence the dashboard design.
I've seen this comment several times (mostly from the "I'd never buy a car that would be tied to Apple's devices" crowd), but it doesn't make any sense. If they were to use iOS on the phone, you wouldn't be able to use the car's features if your iPhone was turned off (or if you left it at home). iOS would have to be running on the car.

 

A good point to be sure. If it is airplay-driven there will be an issue if you don't have your phone.  I would imagine you get the OEM flavor as a stopgap.  For example if BMW does integrate it, you would get their idrive.

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post #31 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by nikilok View Post

Another interesting observation is the choice of car manufacturing partners.
They are partnering with both the economy class / high end ones.

Is it another cue stating Apple is going to target the middle tier of the phone segment ?

Because cars are a poor way to judge someone's social class. There's poor people with BMWs and rich people driving Toyotas. Larry David is pretty darn rich and he drives a Prius.
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post #32 of 75

I wonder if iOS in the Car will have that damn lawyer screen you have to dismiss every time your start your car...

(except Apple's will be 10x longer)

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post #33 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by bzzlink View Post

Wow. AI has got this all wrong.

This is simply "ipod in the car" ver.2.0

Example
When you hook up your iphone5 to a 2011 or newer Audi via bluetooth OR USB, the following is sent to the cars display from the phone

Signal Strength
Battery power
Contacts
Ongoing call status
Playlists 
Albumart 
Currently playing info artist etc. (playlist albumart also works from 3rd party apps like Spotify)


Moreover, aftermarket carstereos have for years also made it possible to watch videos (tv-shows and movies) over the "ipod in the car" interface for years.

iOS in the car, will work just the same, but will send entire screens instead of just the data.

This will live inside one of the apps in the cars entertainment system, just as "ipod in the car" does today. If you haven't got an apple device, then you just use your cars normal cd / cassette player / AM radio as usual. and other crappy "apps" as usual.
IOS in the car allows for a two way user interaction between the cars screen and the device. Default car gps software could be replaced with the iOS version. For all you know they could even open up API to allow developers built custom apps for the car in the future. It's the foundation for that.
post #34 of 75
Generally, the auto year begins in October of the previous year. So the 2014 cars will start appearing in October 2013. This makes sense if iOS 7 appears with a new iPhone, as expected, the month before, September.

More interesting to me: will there be units for the dashboard that will retrofit into current autos?
post #35 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by JLL View Post

The articles on AI about this all write about iOS in the Car as hardware. Daniel even speculates if it means that Apple will let others make iOS hardware.

 

I think you guys are hammering on this far harder than the evidence suggests.  Sure it's probably an AirPlay type feature, but typically there would be hardware integration or at least a set of specs as well.  The whole point of it is that once you have this supremely adaptable, extensible and powerful UNIX computer in your car, the "built-in" stuff from Chevy et all will quickly become irrelevant and fade away.  

 

So the author isn't "totally wrong" at all.  That's just a bitchy overstatement. 

 

Apple will no doubt be suggesting a particular type of screen of a particular size, shape and location etc., and while Airplay will be the primary method of operation at first, and we will see some blended hardware in the initial stages, there is no way that Apple will allow the iOS display to be stretched over the wrong aspect ratio, or displayed on a black and white screen or any of that crap.  Just like the manufacturer of any product hoping to have it integrated into another product, there will be "best case" suggestions on hardware as well as red lines that they won't cross.  

 

I would bet that by the second generation, you will see standardised hardware specs for sure.  Apple may even design the housing for it and the brilliance of their design will no doubt have knock on effects making the car dashboard become more standardised across models itself.  

 

Apple will always be the driver when it comes to design.  What does Chevy et al, really know about design?  Nothing. 

post #36 of 75
I wanted to buy a Ford C-max hybrid, but the crappy Microsoft powered OS has stopped me , if only Ford had iOS coming, oh well

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post #37 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

If it's integrated directly into the car rather than over the iPhone there may not be any way to disable detailed default location tracking that comes with iOS7. Apparently the service would be integrated with car navigation that requires location on, correct. Just as with Google there might be more than a few iOS users uncomfortable with anyone, even Apple, tracking and recording exactly where they've been, when, and how long they stayed there.

That is, of course, total BS. Why wouldn't you be able to turn it off? Does your car require the navigation to be turned on all the time?

Furthermore, unlike Google, Apple's business model doesn't require them to track your every move.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post

All you'd need is an Apple TV like device that could be built into the console and hooked to existing screen, power and entertainment systems.

It wouldn't cost too much per unit for car manufacturers to add them with aftermarket devices available for older cars and for car makers who don't get on board.

Exactly. Since the car already has power, you'd eliminate the power supply and the case. Storage could possibly be scaled back. Essentially, you'd have a circuit board, storage, CPU and RAM (which might be built into the CPU as in the iPhone). I'm guessing a cost of $20-30 at most, partially offset by eliminating what they're doing now.
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post #38 of 75
I think this article shows how completely out of touch some Apple blogs and fans are. (Note: Am typing this on a 13" MBA and have an iPad mini and iPhone - and two Android phones - next to me, so am impartial). For starters, there is nothing at all new or innovative about any of the above. Since a few years ago, I have been able to dock even my most basic Android phone in my car (at the time, a Motorola DEFY running a very old version of Android) and do the following:

1. Issue spoken commands to do pretty much all I can do today with Siri.
2. Navigate to must about anywhere on Earth, with Google's excellent satnav killing Google Maps/Turn by turn directions
3. Obtain location info, such as nearest ATM, gas station etc.

Further, the navigation interface is not from above, but is down at street level like a regular satnav, so it's easy comprehend. Looking at maps from above is confusing because you lose your orientation, but that's another discussion. (I'm aware that Apple maps can do street level views now, but it couldn't even last year.)

I hate to say it, but Apple are years behind. Google Now today can do a huge amount, and lot of it will work in any car, simply by mounting your device above the dash.

I still think Apple made a huge error giving Google maps the boot - they have a lot of catching up to do, in particular in the place naming accuracy and Street View department.
post #39 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by JLL View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by dugbug View Post

@jll yes it was surmised (I think on AI?) that "iOS in the Car" is a form of airplay as far as the display goes
The articles on AI about this all write about iOS in the Car as hardware. Daniel even speculates if it means that Apple will let others make iOS hardware.
He should not. They won't. It isn't needed.
post #40 of 75
"Apple simply had more available to show than it intended to."

That evidence doesn't mean it was more than a mockup. That phrase applies equally if they simply mocked up more stuff than the ended up talking about.

Anyway--looking forward to next year! Apple Maps has been good to me, and I want it big on my dash!
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AppleInsider › Forums › Mobile › iPhone › Exclusive: Hidden contacts revealed within Apple's iOS in the Car