Tim Cook: iOS in the Car is a ‘key focus’ for the company

iOS 7 Siri Car Integration

Apple held its quarterly earnings conference call this afternoon, for the June Quarter, where Tim Cook and his CFO Peter Oppenheimer shared financial information and other insights into the company’s operations with analysts, shareholders and reporters.

During the Q&A portion of the call, Cook was asked about Apple’s ‘iOS in the Car’ initiative. The feature, which allows users to interact with their iOS devices via an in-car display, was one of the few that Apple spotlighted during its WWDC keynote last month…

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In particular, Cook was asked to provide some color on what Apple’s thoughts were on the potential of the in-car feature. Here was Cook’s response:

“I see it as very important. It’s a part of the ecosystem. Just like the App Store is a key part of the ecosystem. And iTunes, and all of our content are key. And the services we provide from messaging to Siri and so forth—having something in the automobile is very, very important. It’s something that people want, and I think Apple can do this in a unique way—better than anyone else. It’s a key focus for us.”

For those unfamiliar with ‘iOS in the Car,’ it’s essentially designed to enhance iOS integration in automobiles. It allows users to do things like make phone calls, access maps, and control music and other media on their device using their car’s built-in display.

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Here’s Apple’s official description of the feature:

“iOS in the Car seamlessly integrates your iOS device — and the iOS experience — with your in-dash system. If your vehicle is equipped with iOS in the Car, you can connect your iPhone 5 and interact with it using the car’s built-in display and controls or Siri Eyes Free. Now you can easily and safely make phone calls, access your music, send and receive messages, get directions, and more. It’s all designed to let iPhone focus on what you need, so you can focus on the road.”

A number of car manufacturers—including Acura, Mercedes-Benz, Infiniti, Ferrari, Chevrolet, Hyundai, Kia, Volvo, Opel and Jaguar—have already pledged support for the feature. Although, I recall several of them pledging Siri Eyes Free support that never materialized.

Earlier this month, hidden code was found in the developer beta of iOS 7 that suggests iOS in the Car could connect with vehicles via Apple’s wireless AirPlay technology, in addition to a standard USB connection. But other than that, not much is known about how it works.

What are your thoughts on iOS in the Car, hit or gimmick?