13 Comments

Summary:

Back in the day when iPod was king, it was the auto-industry that helped accelerate its adoption in the mainstream (and vice versa.) Now car makers are experimenting with iPad integration. I wonder if the history will repeat itself and propel iPad miles ahead of rivals.

jaguarwithipads

A few days back, I came across a press kit from Jaguar. The iconic British brand recently showed off the 2013 Jaguar XJ Ultimate, a $155,000 ultra-luxury sedan, that goes on sale later this year.

I am not really a car guy — I don’t own one and don’t plan to own one. What caught my eye was that the backseat of the car had two iPads, one for each rear passenger. They come with a wireless keyboard and are housed in what Jaguar calls, “specially designed leather-trimmed docks in the rear of the front seats and hidden behind roller doors, also finished in tailored leather. ” The iPads are charged when the car is running. The keyboards are slipped into the “cabinets.”

This isn’t the first time an automaker has made special consideration for the iPad, but this seems to be pretty well thought out one. Back in 2010, Mercedes showed off how iPad could be integrated into its cars. Other brands have made similar attempts as well. Anyway, the Jaguar offering made me wonder if the iPad is going to become as dominating a force in the auto industry  as the iPod. Theoretically, iPad could easily become the entertainment hub inside a car.

Back in the day, when automakers first started to build iPod connectivity into their vehicles, it was quite clear that it was game over for iPod’s rivals. The easier it became for drivers to use their iPods in the cars, the more Apple distanced itself from its rivals. The iPod’s march started with luxury car brands, but eventually even budget brands were bundling iPod connectivity into their cars. And now the cycle is starting all over again with iPad integration making its way into luxury car brands. (Also, my colleague Katie wrote an awesome post about iPad’s impact on greener transit and connected cars.)

Thoughts?

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  1. Kelly Amsbry Monday, April 30, 2012

    Not sure that inclusion in a $100k+ luxury car makes a trend… But yes, over time it makes sense for auto makers to better embrace consumer devices over their proprietary “inoftainment” solutions.

    1. Kelly

      it is not a trend for now, but remember when the first iPod got included, that too wasn’t a trend. Rest is history. ;-)

  2. I hope the housing is interchangeable to accommodate new iPad form factors :-/ If you’re spending $155K on a car, I can imagine you will own it for more than 3 years, which is about how far back Apple supports older iPads and iPhones O:-)

    1. If you are spending $155,000 on a new car, I am betting you are buying a new car every year or so ;-)

  3. Gimmic. Too risky, think back to do the days when car stereos were stolen out of cars, this just makes it too tempting for a smash and grab. Nice idea but not necessary, a simple attachment device to a standard seat would be ideal as who would want to see gaping hole in the back of the seat when you left it in the house.

  4. Actually, the size is wrong. It’s too small for the distance involved. It would need to be at least the size of the frame that holds it to comfortably view a movie or play a game on it. That probably requires a dedicated screen since I don’t see iPads getting that large. But the concept is sound and that day will come when there will be a hefty screen on the back of every auto and airliner seat.

  5. Anuj Agarwal Tuesday, May 1, 2012

    I don’t really see value in this. People buying such cars I believe already carry the latest iPhones and 3G enabled iPads with them. don’t they?

  6. martinschwoerer Tuesday, May 1, 2012

    I’d add that we are not just talking about an entertainment device. iPads can be used as a low-cost alternative to the instrument panel. I have seen this on some electric-car prototypes: all you need is a slot in front of the driver into which you stick the iPad, and some custom apps. Presto, a great combined speedo/tachometer/navigator/theft-prevention interface at a quite low cost.

  7. martinschwoerer Tuesday, May 1, 2012

    I’d add that we are not just talking about an entertainment device. iPads can be used as an excellent alternative to the instrument panel. I have seen this on some electric-car prototypes: all you need is a slot in front of the driver into which you stick the iPad, and some custom apps. Presto, a great combined speedo/tachometer/navigator/theft-prevention interface at a quite low cost.

  8. Apple should acquire Sirius/XM. The combined companies could own the dashboard and Apple could help grow the Sirius subsriber base signifcantly.

  9. good god why doesnt gigaom change its name to apple b!tches and get it over with

  10. I spent a lot of money getting headrest DVDs into my new car two years ago. If only I had though about it, I could have gotten both of my kids their own iPads (original) for use in the car, and saved money. Nowadays, the DVD goes unused, and the boys play on iPad or iPhone hand-me-downs.

  11. Erik M. Schwartz Wednesday, May 2, 2012

    So when I first read this article’s headline, I imagined that the integration was going to be more intelligent, much like the control panel on the Tesla Model S that you guys were so kind to share with the attendees of the Roadmap conference last fall.

    Sticking two iPads in a leather holder in the back of a seat really epitomizes how out of touch automobile manufacturers are with current technology. I mean how cool would it be to have a slick mounting dock right on my center dash, where I could pull up maps, traffic, music, play movies on the Airplay screens in the back, and have Siri read me my messages and News on dock connected speaker system. I could save thousands on the factory installed headend electronics which are always outdated as soon as I drive the car off of the lot.

    Now that kind of integration would help cars zoom away for good!!

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