The rumored collusion of Apple and Volkswagen on an iCar leaves me baffled. What would an iCar do that cars with iPod adapters don't? For example, new Scions come standard with an excellent iPod interface, giving you full access to your entire music library. Why isn't the Scion an iCar?
Throwing Apple's signature "i" in front of "Car" has got to be a marketing dream. The term iCar has the same simplicity as iPod and iPhone. And it mimics the iPhone treatment by putting the "i" in front of a very commonplace word. It makes me want to live in an iWorld. Imagine waking up in an iBed, taking your iCar to work, doing your iJob all day, then having a couple of iBeers at the end of the day.
Will Apple take a bite out of Volkswagen?
Top features for the iCar?
There aren't any details on what an iCar might be, but I've got a few ideas. First, forget about mechanical controls, such as steering wheels, shifters, and pedals. You control the iCar with touch surfaces and gestures. When you want to turn right, drag your finger across the dashboard-mounted touch screen toward the right. If you want to speed up, drag your finger forward on the touch screen (although on BMW iCars, you would drag your finger back to increase speed). Of course, there is one mechanical control--a subtle switch mounted unobtrusively under the dashboard to turn the car on or off.
The touch screen also displays your speedometer, tachometer, and other gauges, all of which you can minimize so they don't clutter your view. Of course, when you minimize a gauge, it graphically rolls up and gets sucked down to the bottom of the screen. And the time is always displayed in the upper right of the screen. Apple extends its Widgets architecture to the touch screen, letting you easily install new gauges or other information, many developed by iCar users.
Or will Volkswagen brand an Apple?
The navigation system in the iCar is much simpler to use than in most other cars, where you have to enter in a street address or choose a point of interest. In iCar, you just touch the button labeled Groceries, and the car drives you to the nearest Whole Foods. If you need to go computer shopping, iCar takes you to an Apple store. If you want to go out to the movies, iCar doesn't drive anywhere, merely showing the movie on its dashboard screen.
You can't really tune up an iCar. There aren't any performance mods available, although there are a lot of accessories from third parties. Unfortunately, most of these accessories are neoprene or rubber skins you can wrap around the iCar, to keep it from getting scratched or damaged.
Of course, the best thing about iCar is that it doesn't crash. Or, at least that's what its marketing claims.