Will cars help iPad zoom away for good?

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.)