Siri is getting a whole mess of new updates, and she looks to be a whole lot smarter than she used to be. Beyond her ability to open apps and arrival on the iPad, soon Siri will also be your co-pilot while you’re riding in your whip. “We want to integrate Siri even better in the car,” Scott Forstall said on stage at WWDC today.
To that point, an important tidbit that was buried in the keynote today: Siri is getting its own button on BMW, GM, Mercedes, Land Rover, Jaguar, Audi, Toyota and Honda cars, right on your steering wheel. When you press a switch on your steering wheel, Siri will pop up on your phone (via Bluetooth) and assist you on the road, like your very own AAA agent.
While presumably the car companies aren’t in bed with Apple deep enough to offer a dedicated, logo-branded button on their valuable steering wheel real estate, it’s clear that the value proposition offered by a deep Apple/manufacturer relationship is definitely compelling.
Apple is lucky: Hardware partners line up to be part of their licensed program. However, this is much different. For the entrenched and staid car companies to offer a literal Siri button in their vehicles is a wild departure.
Obviously Microsoft Sync is already part of some vehicles, but imagine the cost savings associated with a simple button versus a hardware solution that car manufacturers have to install, update, and maintain through the life of the car.
Apple’s partnership with car manufacturers riffs on “Hands Free,” as the company is calling Siri In The Car “Eyes Free.” There’s no word yet on whether or not when Eyes Free cars will make into dealerships near you, but Forstall did say that it expects its partners to have this integration live and driving within the next year.
Reporting contributed by John Biggs