App developer and guy soon to be removed from Apple's holiday card list Steven Troughton-Smith published some screenshots and videos of a beta of Apple's 'iOS in the Car.' The videos suggest a tight integration between iDevices and future car's infotainment systems, yet don't show in-car iOS installation.
The videos show a Mac-based emulator running the current version of iOS 7.0.3 and a very stripped-down version of the in-car system, which is normally not accessible. The phone looks like, well, the phone, and the car's display is represented by a separate 800x480 pixel window.
In the notes on the YouTube page, more details are given:
• Supports Multiple Resolutions
• Supports touchscreens (presumably single-touch?), hardware buttons, wheels and touchpads
• Does not support multitasking - car display will always show same current on-screen app as iPhone (which can be locked/asleep)
• Whitelisted to specific Apple apps - no public API for developers [yet?]
• Has no keyboard UI - voice recognition as input
• UI clearly subject to change
• Missing functionality in video is due to iOS Simulator not containing all the stock iOS apps
So, it looks like what's being built here is a system for sort of 'broadcasting' information/apps and more from an iOS device to an in-dash screen with appropriate formatting and input adjustments, including use of the car's built in hardware controls on steering wheel, iDrive-style rotary knobs, touch screens, and squeezebulbs or whatever else they put in.
It does not seem that this is designed to replace a car's native infotainment OS system, at least not yet, and would, as such, require tethering to an existing iOS device. The good news about that is that as updates and improvements happen for the iOS device , those would get passed to your car's screens as well.
Ideally, these hooks will be open to third-party developers, so competition and innovation should open up all sorts of interesting in-dash solutions.
While the videos only are really showing the Maps app and associated OS-level UI functionality, some interesting UI choices can be seen already. Notable is the use of an on-screen representation of the iPhone's 'home' button, instead of the more common 'house'-looking icon for a home screen. It's also the first on-screen representation of that button that I'm aware of in an iOS UI.
The exclusion of the keyboard in favor of voice commands makes sense when you think about the current and likely upcoming restrictions on texting and general device-using in cars legislation. Aside from future brain implants with their unsightly antennae, voice may be the safest way to go.
This appears to be still a fairly early development, but Apple is saying that this will be available for use midway through this year, so it'll be interesting to see how this plays out. It's not clear if current infotainment systems will be able to be retrofitted to work with iOS in the car, or if this will only be available on yet-to-be-released vehicles.
Now we just have to hack it so we can play The Room while driving.