This is kind of interesting. Following a press release this weekend, Volkswagen has just unveiled the ‘iBeetle’ at the Shanghai Motor Show in the city’s Pudong district. The vehicle is expected to launch early next year, and will come in both coupe and convertible models.

Why is it called the iBeetle? The car will feature a custom built-in iPhone docking station, as well as a companion app, that will allow you to sync your iPhone with its entertainment system for making phone calls, streaming music and more. More details after the fold…

Volkswagen claims that this is the first time a vehicle has featured a “genuine integrative interface for the iPhone that was coordinated with Apple.” And in addition to the app and dock, the iBeetle will also feature Chrome trim, and custom ‘Disc’ wheels and badging.


Here’s some of the car’s capabilities noted in Volkswagen’s press release (via AutoBlog):

The newly designed docking station is located centrally on the dashboard of the Beetle: the iPhone simply snaps in to integrate it with the car. Essentially, all iPhone functions can be used in the Beetle; the iPhone can be used to navigate, make calls hands-free, listen to music, and much more.

When this special app is launched on an iPhone, it can either connect the phone to the Beetle via the docking station or wirelessly. Each option allows for different app functions to be accessed:

Spotify: lets users stream media such as new songs, customized playlists or online radio stations into the Beetle. Those who wish can post their favorite music directly to friends. In addition, users in the Beetle can switch between “Spotify” and “iTunes” at any time.

Expert: offers five functions which make the iPhone an extended on-board instrument of the Beetle, such as a G-Meter (for measuring lateral acceleration), oil and coolant temperature gauges for the engine, a chronometer, and a compass.

Trainer: can be used to compare driving times, distances, and fuel economy values for different routes between any two destinations. Here, too, tips can be posted via social networks like Twitter and Facebook-such as which route is faster to the office.

Reader: lists the latest messages from social networks like Facebook, and reads iPhone messages aloud.

Postcard: Sends the current location of the Beetle to friends as a digital postcard with a map motif.

Photo: Sends photos taken inside the car to numerous social networks. Simply activate it, and the app does the rest.

Milestones: Available when the smartphone is undocked. Rewards its users with virtual “milestone stickers” for the Beetle when certain tasks have been completed.

We’ve heard several reports recently that Apple is looking to wade further into the auto space. Last month, word got out that the iPad-maker was going to broaden its partnership with Ferrari. And shortly after that, it was seen hiring engineers for its vehicle integration team.

Apple is also making a big push in the auto space right now with its new Siri Eyes Free project. The feature, which was introduced in iOS 6 last year, allows users to initiate Siri through their car’s factory entertainment system. It made its debut earlier this year in the Chevy Spark.

The company’s growing infatuation with in-car integration should surprise no one. Steve Jobs often dreamed of building an ‘iCar,’ and even went so far as to discuss the idea with Volkswagen years ago. And Apple has factory iPhone and iPod adapters in most makes and models.

But what is surprising is that VW thought an iPhone dock (oh yeah, and an iPhone application) was worth building an entire car around. It seems like something that would have just been available as an option, or listed as a bullet point in a ‘technology’ trim package.

At any rate, the iBeetle will be available in iPhone-like ‘Candy White’ and ‘Black Monochrome,’ among other special colors. And should be ready for purchase in early 2014.

So, who’s planning on picking up an iBeetle?

  • Steve Jobs’ dream come true :’)

  • Oh nice. I wonder if I it integrates with Volkswagens’s CAN bus technology. Haha

    • Gorgonphone

      OMG the 2014 GTI look very very nice

    • I take it people don’t know what Volkswagen CAN bus technology is considering the down votes.

  • Guest

    Oh nice. I wonder if it integrates with VW’s CAN bus technology. Haha

  • Joe Benning

    Dumb. I love how Apple and AT&T are BFF’s with the iPhone and yet every time I hear about how great “streaming” anything on their network, I laugh. With their data plans these days, there is no way you could afford to do this very much. I have the unlimited plan from way back, and as a moderate user at best, I’m almost always near the “throttle” line of 3GB per month.

    • I hear ya Joe, same here.

    • Gorgonphone

      yeah they chose 3gb ion purpose cause they know its at the threshold of many users data consumption so folks will be pushed to pay more to get the limited 5 gig plan

  • Boss

    Pointless dock could have at least used Bluetooth

  • Gorgonphone

    The beetle has not sold well at all this go round.. it was not marketed as well as it was in the beginning and many of the females buyers have moved up to luxury brands… but i guess its still cool to have apple team up with them