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

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 75
    nikiloknikilok Posts: 383member
    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 ?
  • Reply 2 of 75
    chandra69chandra69 Posts: 638member

    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.image

  • Reply 3 of 75
    nikiloknikilok Posts: 383member

    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.image



     


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

  • Reply 4 of 75
    jlljll Posts: 2,713member

    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.

  • Reply 5 of 75
    Perhaps one of the Home buttons means drive to my Home.
  • Reply 6 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.

  • Reply 7 of 75
    nikiloknikilok Posts: 383member


    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 :)

  • Reply 8 of 75
    dugbugdugbug Posts: 283member
    @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.
  • Reply 9 of 75
    jlljll Posts: 2,713member

    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.

  • Reply 10 of 75
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member


    Ha! A nice bit of detective work.

  • Reply 11 of 75
    chandra69chandra69 Posts: 638member

    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. image

  • Reply 12 of 75
    dugbugdugbug Posts: 283member


    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.

     

  • Reply 13 of 75
    chandra69chandra69 Posts: 638member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by caliban10 View Post



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


    Actually, I thought the same!

  • Reply 14 of 75
    nchianchia Posts: 124member
    Love the "Enhance!" CSI magic.
  • Reply 15 of 75
    chandra69chandra69 Posts: 638member

    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.

  • Reply 16 of 75
    dugbugdugbug Posts: 283member

    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.

  • Reply 17 of 75
    chandra69 wrote: »
    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.

    dugbug wrote: »
    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.
  • Reply 18 of 75
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    nikilok wrote: »
    I thought dashboard design itself was left to the car manufacturer :) . 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.

    dugbug wrote: »
    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.
  • Reply 19 of 75
    jlljll Posts: 2,713member

    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.

  • Reply 20 of 75
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,165member
    jragosta wrote: »
    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
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