New iOS in the Car feature could be difficult for automakers to implement – and makes Apple more of a follower than a leader.
For years it was rumored that Apple didn’t care much about cars, notwithstanding late founder and CEO Steve Jobs' affinity for the Mercedes-Benz SL.
The general consensus was that Apple was happier selling the mobile devices that drivers plugged into their cars, since for years the company’s products so dominated the portable device market. The term “iPod integration” became a catch-all phrase and a required feature for automakers.
But that was when connectivity meant nothing more than an auxiliary audio jack, and later, a USB port. Now that it has evolved into accessing cloud-based content via a tethered smartphone or using an embedded modem – or a combination of the two, as with systems such as BMW’s ConnectedDrive and Toyota’s Entune – Apple is now making a much more serious play in the car.
Last week, in announcing its upcoming iOS 7 mobile operating system, which will be released this fall, Apple unveiled several exclusive in-car features under the name "iOS in the Car" that integrate music, messaging, navigation and other functions from a connected Apple device into the dashboard. But like others who cover the connected car, it left me wondering how automakers will integrate iOS in the Car with their own infotainment systems, and how it will coexist with non-Apple portable device integration solutions that are trying to establish a standard to connect all devices and work with all automakers.
And given the limited capabilities of iOS in the Car, it also made me and others I spoke with wonder why the innovative company is choosing to follow rather than lead.
In total, about 480,000 SUVs from 2006-2007 are at risk for window switch fires and short circuits.
The driver's master window switches on 2006-2007 SUVs based on the discontinued Chevrolet Trailblazer can short circuit and cause the locks to function intermittently and even cause the door to melt and catch fire. The 2006-2007 GMC Envoy, Buick Rainier, Saab 9-7X, Isuzu Ascender are also included, as well as the longer-wheelbase 2006 GMC Envoy XL and Chevrolet Trailblazer EXT.
In August, GM recalled nearly 250,000 of the same SUVs but had limited the total to vehicles sold or registered in 20 "salt belt" states, including the District of Columbia. Now, GM is recalling all vehicles for these model years, including 193,652 in the United States and an additional 38,000 in Canada, Mexico and other countries.
The head-up display shows the vehicle’s speed and also the speed limit in the vicinity. But it’s up to the driver to make sure the latter is correct.
The 2013 Cadillac XTS sedan has plenty of bells and whistles in the AWD Platinum Collection trim I drove, including the slick CUE infotainment system and a slew of active safety systems that even give drivers a warning in the seat of their pants.
The head-up display (HUD) that uses a mirror and projector in the dashboard to project information onto the windshield is low tech by comparison, but it works well.
One of my favorite features of the HUD is the speedometer display, because it places this info right in your face, with no need even to glance down at the instrument panel. In addition, the Cadillac XTS also shows the speed limit in the vicinity, when it's available, posting the limit right next to the car’s speed in the HUD.
The speed limit info is supplied by the navigation system. But just as you can’t always rely on a navigation system to know everything about an area and give you accurate directions, you also can’t always rely on the XTS to give you information on the correct speed limit.
2013 Rams have software errors with headlights and taillights, while the front axle can fail on 2012 models.
Since its introduction last fall, the 2013 Ram has been recalled six separate times.
A total of 30,197 Ram 1500, 2500 and 3500 pickups from 2013 may not alert drivers with the usual warning light on the instrument panel if a taillight is out. Of these vehicles, 1,253 Ram 2500s and 3500s from 2013 will also be recalled to ensure the headlights aim correctly when the high beams are used. Only vehicles with optional xenon high-intensity discharge (HID) headlights are affected. Chrysler dealers will apply software updates to the vehicles starting in July.
3-Series coupe replacement to be unveiled at Frankfurt Motor Show
The 4 will take on the Audi A5 and Mercedes-Benz C-class coupe and make its public debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September. It will come here later this year as a 2014 model in either rear- or four-wheel drive.
The 4-Series was shown as a concept at the Detroit auto show back in January and is based on the 3-Series platform. The front and rear tracks are wider for a lower and wider look. Stylistically, the new car borrows from the latest 3-Series, especially up front where the 4's headlamps butt up against the kidney-shaped grille.
The 4-Series is about an inch longer and 2 inches wider than the 3-Series coupe. The wheelbase is up 2 inches, and the track widened 2 inches in front, 3 in the rear. Significantly, the car's widest part is across the rear wheel arches -- helping provide it with a more aggressive cab-backward stance.
Whether it was obvious before or not, AAA is calling for automakers to limit voice activation only for 'core driving-related activities.'
Based on what it calls "landmark research," the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety said that "hands-free is not risk-free" when it comes to using voice activation to access in-car infotainment features.
The nonprofit organization said that even while using voice-to-text technology, as a driver's mental workload and therefore distractions increase, "reaction time slows, brain function is compromised, drivers scan the road less and miss visual cues, potentially resulting in drivers not seeing items right in front of them, including stop signs and pedestrians."
Based on the research from its new distraction study, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety is urging the public not to use voice-to-text features while driving to access infotainment features, and AAA is taking its case to lawmakers, government agencies, safety organizations and directly to car company executives.
"This research is unique because it is the first study to comprehensively measure the effects of mental distraction and driving," Jake Nelson, the director of Traffic Safety Advocacy for AAA told MSN Autos. "The results demonstrate that you are not necessarily safer just because your hands are on the wheel and your eyes are on the road."
One-of-a-kind Ford Mustang with 900 horsepower will fill the ‘hero car’ role for the 2014 film.
Fans of the long-running "Need for Speed" series of video games have had a banner week. Not only was the upcoming installment "Need for Speed: Rivals" showcased at the Electronics Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles, but fans and the gathered media saw the announcement of a "Need for Speed" movie, to be released next year with "Breaking Bad" actor Aaron Paul in the lead role.
Well, the lead human role, anyway. Every great car-centric movie or TV show needs a "hero car," an iconic automobile that is so fast, loud and cool-looking that it’s what you think of when you hear a movie’s title, or the starring actors and plot. "Bullitt," "Gone in 60 Seconds," "The Dukes of Hazzard," "Knight Rider," "Cannonball Run" – the list goes on and on.
The pitch for the entire "Fast and the Furious" series may well have been a whiteboard with “Hero cars zip across screen, dozens at a time, like energy-drink-chugging bees” scrawled across it. With the "Need for Speed" movie paying homage to the car-culture flicks of the '60s and '70s, it definitely needed a hero car, and thanks to Ford, it has one.
Redesigned CTS gets hefty price bump
The base 2014 Cadillac CTS sedan will cost $46,025 when it goes on sale this fall. That’s a $6,035 increase from the current model’s $39,990 price after shipping charges.
For 2014, the CTS sedan is seeing a major overhaul, with a longer, leaner body and a new optional twin-turbo 3.6-liter V6 engine rated at 420 hp. The twin-turbo V6 can be had with the new Vsport trim, which starts at $59,995 after shipping charges.
The CTS is also available with a naturally aspirated 3.6-liter 321-hp V6 mated to a new eight-speed automatic in rear-wheel-drive models or six-speed automatic with all-wheel drive. The base engine is a 2.0-liter turbocharged I4 rated at 272 hp and paired with a six-speed automatic.
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Clifford Atiyeh has spent his entire life driving cars he doesn't own. Raised in Volvos, he has grown to love fast, irresponsible vehicles of all kinds. He is the senior news editor at MSN Autos and also reports for Car and Driver, Road & Track, The Boston Globe and other publications.
In the garage: 21-speed Iron Horse, 2002 Jeep Wrangler X (not his)
Doug Newcomb has covered car technology for over 20 years for outlets ranging from Rolling Stone to Edmunds.com. In 2008, he published his first book, "Car Audio for Dummies" (Wiley). He lives and drives in Hood River, Ore., with his wife and two kids, who share his passion for cars and technology.
In the garage: 1996 Chevrolet Impala SS, two 1984 Chevrolet Blazers, 2008 Honda CR-V
James Tate learned to drive stick at age 13 in a 1988 Land Cruiser - in La Paz, Bolivia. He's since been a mechanic, on a pit crew and has wrenched on every car he's owned since his first 1989 Honda CRX Si (and won't stop until the car is a 1973 Porsche 911 RS). His work has appeared in Car and Driver, Popular Mechanics, Automobile and others.
In the garage: 1995 Porsche 911 Carrera, 1988 BMW M5
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