It is looking more and more like Apple is getting ready to compete in the in-car infotainment marketplace. According to an article in Jalopnik and Forbes, Apple is looking to hire automotive engineers in China, of the variety that would enable integration of Apple devices directly into car dashboards.
It’s not surprising that Apple is planning an entry into connected auto devices, given recent buzz and studies showing that consumers are very interested. Of course Apple, which led the move to connected mobile decides with iPhones and iPads, will want to play in this marketplace. Connected dashboard devices have the capacity to be huge – a recent study found that 59% of 19 to 31 year olds consider in-dash connectivity to be the most important interior feature in a new car.
Apples’s Siri technology will be a critical feature in whatever they build – automakers are interested in connected dashboards that offer consumers lots of interactive options that do not distract drivers. Voice enabled technologies are a critical element in that equation.
Apple is also rumored to be readying their streaming music platform as well. While they have offered a cloud based product, they have yet to produce a consumer offering that counters the threat that the likes of an on demand offering like Spotify poses to iTunes. There’s quite a bit of speculation that Apple will launch a streaming platform, likely to offer music, movies and more, soon.