Apple Patents An In-Car Entertainment And Information System With Tactile Feedback

Apple has been granted a patent today (via AppleInsider) for an in-car, touchscreen telematics system that would provide drivers with tactile feedback to help them keep their eyes on the road. It’s a little like taking iOS 7’s new car-specific features to their logical conclusion, by having Apple design every element of a car’s dash info and entertainment console features.

The system would use knobs, sliders, touchscreen controls and other stuff that’s essentially present in current in-car systems, but extends its ability to be completely user programmable and able to extend its reach to systems like windshield wiper control. The patent talks about customizability through apps and information, such as from the Stocks app, being displayed through the console.

The patent filing itself is an older one, but Apple is just now starting to really make its intentions known regarding how it will begin to expand in this new market. iOS In The Car looks to use Wi-Fi and AirPlay to essentially take over existing infrastructure within an automobile from an iPhone. A reconfigured iOS home screen, with the relevant features highlighted, shows up on the in-dash touchscreen, bypassing any kind of internal infotainment system altogether.

All eyes have been on the living room and the wrist in terms of Apple’s next land-grabs when it comes to new products, but the car is perhaps a more logical new territory to explore. Competitors like BlackBerry already have a lot of skin in that game with its QNX operating system, which powers 60 percent of the infotainment telematics systems in the world, according to a recent study.

Apple has been working with car manufacturers to integrate Siri already, and iOS In The Car will extend that relationship even further with its partners. The approach is evolving, in other words, and Apple is nothing if not a company all about the marriage of hardware and software, so we could see it shoulder more of that responsibility as they continue to make strides in this market.