Mar 4 - Apple is putting its operating system into supercars by Ferrari and vehicles from Mercedes and Volvo, allowing drivers to control Apple apps and, says the tech firm, making driving safer. Julian Satterthwaite reports.
Ferrari and Apple are getting together to form a brand dream team. The U.S. tech firm says it's making its phone operating system available in vehicles from the Italian supercar legend, as well as vehicles from Mercedes and Volvo. REPORTER ON CAMERA: JULIAN SATTERTHWAITE, REUTERS REPORTER (ENGLISH) SAYING: Dubbed CarPlay, it's built around Apple's Siri voice controlled personal assistant. In fact, let's get Siri to explain what it can do. NAT SOUND OF APPLE'S SIRI (ENGLISH) SAYING: "The technology will allow drivers to control Apple apps, including iTunes, maps and messaging, all with spoken commands. It will also boost safety by allowing drivers to operate their iPhones with minimum distraction." REPORTER ON CAMERA: JULIAN SATTERTHWAITE, REUTERS REPORTER (ENGLISH) SAYING: Of course I'd really like to show this working on the car's own systems, but, not coincidentally to make that work you have to have one of Apple's very latest iPhones, so this whole new venture might just drive a few sales Apple's way. But an Apple spokesman says the system also offers functions that leverage the unique relationship between phone, and car. SOUNDBITE: APPLE SPOKESMAN (ENGLISH) SAYING: "OK, so let's go ahead into maps. You'll see here our current location, I can press destinations and what we pull up is the red pins show you places that you've been to recently so as I scroll down here I'll see emails. So this is from my recent emails that have locations in them. So for friends that said 'do you want to go get dinner at a certain location' then it will be here and with one tap I can get directions." For all automakers, in-car tech is getting ever more important, especially in the battle to attract younger buyers. No wonder Apple rival Google is signing up carmakers like Audi to use its Android operating system. Automotive analyst Jay Nagley says carmakers are desperate for a slice of the smartphone action: SOUNDBITE: REDSPY MD JAY NAGLEY (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Carmakers definitely have to embrace this because people - young people - live their lives via electronic gadgets and they expect to be able to do the same when they're in their car. And the car companies can't be seen to be some sort of Jurassic backwater of old technology." Not everyone is betting on Apple and Android though. Media reports suggest that Ford may start using a system based on BlackBerry software, despite all the Canadian firm's woes. Ford is tight lipped on that subject for now, but whether it's Apple, Android or Blackberry, it's clear that cars now need to be compatible with mobile phones, and not the other way round. And it seems even Ferrari can benefit from a little of Apple's marketing magic.