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Siri going Vroom!
Siri going Vroom!
By: Sneha Bokil-Paranjape

There’s no denying that former Apple CEO Steve Job’s impact exists not only on the tech world, but the world as whole. Whether you’re an Apple fan or not, the fact remains that Steve Jobs had a major hand in revolutionizing some of the most important facets of our lives: from the way we buy and listen to music (iPod/iTunes), to the way we access the Web — including the wealth of media that comes along with it — due to the evolution of the cell phone into the “smartphone” (iPhone), and finally, the proliferation of the “smart device” and the way in which we intimately interact with it all. (iPad and iPhone)

But what if Steve Jobs had revolutionized another aspect with his another world class innovation? Like for example Cars. We recently heard about Steve Jobs dream of designing an iCar. And this dream is all set to get real.

Among the various new iOS 6 features Apple announced at WWDC was Siri’s new ‘Eye Free’ feature, which will essentially replicate the iPhone’s Siri button on the car steering wheel. Siri, which is Apple’s brilliant voice command software that gives the Apple iPhone an edge over the other smartphones is all set to ‘drive’ you crazy.

The new feature which will be released as part of Apple’s latest version of its mobile OS later this fall, allows drivers to interact with Siri with the screen turned off in order to mitigate distraction while driving. Additionally, by pressing a button located on the steering wheel (similar to existing voice activation protocols) drivers will be able to give voice commands to Siri hands-free. Apple’s new in-house Maps service along with free turn-by-turn navigation feature and real-time traffic updates converts the iPhone into a valuable navigation device.

Users can not only make a call but also tune in to their favourite music, send a text message, create reminders, set alarms, or create events without ever having to look for their phone. In the next 12 months, Apple’s popular virtual assistant Siri will start conversing with us through our car speakers.

Siri has proved a popular voice command feature in the latest iOS, and so naturally users would want that functionality integrated into their cars. Hence, automakers are lining up to support Eyes Free. A total of nine car companies that would be integrating the feature are Audi, BMW, Chrysler, Honda, General Motors, Jaguar, Land Rover, Mercedes and Toyota.

The market for so-called auto infotainment technology - everything from navigation and audio systems to screens to chips - is sizable.Revenue this year is projected to surge to $33.5 billion, and growth will be even stronger in the next four years, ranging from 4.7 % to 6.4 %, according to IHS iSuppli.

Apple and automakers are very similar. Both want to keep strict control over their user experience. Apple may want to make the iPhone the centre of all car infotainment features.

Finally, there is the fact, not recognized at the WWDC, that there are other smartphones out there. If you buy the Apple hype, then anyone who wants to use navigation, communication, or audio in future cars will have to own an iPhone.