Why 'iOS in the Car' is bigger than you think

"Apple is making a TV", "Apple is making a watch", "Apple is making a car", "Apple is making a 1240" plasma zebra" blah blah blah. It seems Apple will always be surrounded by rumours and speculation on their 'next big product'. But I think it's already here. When iOS 7 was unveiled there was a great deal of excited conversation around icons, flat design and iTunes Radio. But one feature in the presentation that has largely gone under the radar is iOS in the Car.

Apple has signed up a group of car makers to build the iOS software in to their cars.

The brief demo focussed largely on how Siri's voice controls could be easily accessed and how the 'turn by turn' directions in Apple Maps could work seamlessly. Both of which are reasonably interesting. But there is a bigger picture here, that I'm excited about.

The current production cycle on cars is comparatively prolonged. So for Apple to try and enter such a market would be a formidable shift in process (not to mention direction). Similarly for TVs and all the other hardware they have been rumoured to be creating. However the software is a different matter. The software can live anywhere and be updated, improved and tracked with any basic data connection.

Historically Apple has fought to keep its hardware and software together. They even resited bringing a Windows version of iTunes to the world. But this is a new strategy. This the first sign of iOS appearing out of Apple's hardware. The Apple ecosystem is going beyond its own products. Now you can see iOS running across a number of products.

Now it's easy to imagine a day when I use my TV to select some music for the day, this plays in my car during my commute and continues to play on my phone, while I'm working. Apps are backed up on iCloud and the data can already be shared across Apple devices - why not other objects that your life touches during the day?

There is some hardware that Apple will no doubt want to retain and control. But if this strategy plays out they are no longer limited to their own production capabilities.

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