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Siri EyesFree(s AAPL) is hitching a ride with yet another car-maker: this week, Europe’s Opel announced it is adding Apple’s hands-free in-car system to a new model Adam. The news comes just weeks after Apple announced an even more ambitious in-car system.
The Adam, which is a compact, entry-level car priced around $15,000 to start, will have a button on its steering wheel that activates Siri’s EyesFree mode. Pressing it lets drivers dictate texts and emails, play songs, voice mails or messages, initiate calls and get mapped directions via their iOS device without taking their hands off of the steering wheel. The car comes with a dock to mount either an iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPad 3, iPad 4, iPad mini or fourth-generation iPod touch.
Opel is owned by General Motors,(s GM) which was the first to add Siri EyesFree to two cars earlier this year, both of which were entry-level as well: the Spark and Sonic. Though Siri’s car presence is definitely not confined to entry-level cars — it’s also going to be in all BMW models and the new Ferrari, for example — the Siri EyesFree product could be on its way to becoming a basic package of Siri integration for a wider range of cars.
At WWDC earlier this month, Apple announced a beefed-up version that’s far more integrated into vehicles. There were few details, but the goal is to put the iOS interface directly onto a car’s display, rather than remain on the driver’s iOS device. The features would still be driven by voice, but Apple’s Maps, for instance, would appear directly on a car’s dash.
There are nearly a dozen carmakers on board, many of whom are already committed to Siri EyesFree. But as for when these features will arrive, that’s very much TBD. If the timing of the roll-out goes anything like EyesFree, it’ll be a year from now when real traction will begin.