Carmakers reluctant to let Apple control center stack

Article by Christian A., on June 18, 2013

When Apple announced last week that 12 auto brands will allow drivers to connect their iPhones to center consoles to perform a number of functions, some may have thought that the company would take control of the center stack. Carmakers, however, are reluctant to do so, since while there are around 49 million iPhone users in the United States, Android users outnumber them by near 20 million at 68 million.

Aiming to please both safety regulators as well as drivers who demand for seamless connectivity experience inside their vehicles, carmakers have no other choice but to perform a balancing act. Apple has been successful in taking advantage of consumers’ attitude towards gadgets and devices, and carmakers are expected to allow the company’s products make their way onto center stacks.

Apple is responding accordingly, as it tries to create a basic menu of features -- like navigation, voice-enabled text messaging, music – that would work seamlessly in a vehicle. But that would not be enough to dispel carmakers’ reluctance to let Apple take full control of the center. Carmakers would rather provide their own infotainment systems that would connect to both iPhone and Android smartphones.

For instance, BMW AG said on June 5, 2013 that its 2014 models would now allow owners to connect Apple's Siri or Samsung's S Voice to the center stack to dictate text messages. BMW spokesman Dave Buchko remarked that Apple will have its niche but would not be calling the shots.

BMW unit owners and iPhone likely would select the iPhone link from a menu on the center-stack screen. The carmaker will still control what apps to approve or disapprove for its ConnectedDrive infotainment system. BMW will also integrate the Android system into its infotainment system. [source: automotive news - sub. required]

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