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Apple CarPlay brings Siri to Ferrari, Merc and Volvo: iWow for iDrivers

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Apple has announced its CarPlay iPhone user interface system, Monday, that will be introduced initially on vehicles made by Volvo, Mercedes-Benz, and Ferrari.

The company has debuted the system during the Geneva International Motor Show. CarPlay will allow iPhone users to more intuitively interact with the vehicle's infotainment system for navigating, listening to music, making a phone call, or sending messages. Its launch is a declaration of war on other platforms that have been trying to crawl into the dashboards of vehicles.

Apple CarPlay comes as an update for the iOS 7 and is compatible for Lightning-enabled units such as the iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c, and iPhone 5. It will be rolled out on select vehicle models that will be released later this year.

"CarPlay has been designed from the ground up to provide drivers with an incredible experience using their iPhone in the car. iPhone users always want their content at their fingertips and CarPlay lets drivers use their iPhone in the car with minimized distraction. We have an amazing lineup of auto partners rolling out CarPlay...," said vice president of iPhone and iOS Product Marketing of Apple, Greg Joswiak.

In the near future, other carmakers such as BMW, Jaguar Land Rover, Toyota, Ford, Honda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, among others will be rolling out their car from the pipeline with CarPlay pe-installed.

"CarPlay brings your car and iPhone together for a thoughtful experience that lets drivers focus on driving, while also tapping into everything they want to do with their iPhone," Apple said in a statement.

Drivers will be able to control CarPlay from the interface of the vehicle's infotainment system or by using designated buttons on the steering wheel of the car in order to activate Siri. The virtual assistant then can help the driver do what he wants by using voice commands and without taking his eyes off the road.

IHS Automotive forecast 215,000 vehicles to be sold with CarPlay in 2014. This number will jump to 25 million vehicles by 2020 based on the market research company.

"So there's significant growth, but 25 million units is still only 25% of the cars that will be sold, so it's not reaching critical mass even by the end of this decade,"said  Mark Boyadjis, Infotainment & HMI systems manager at IHS Automotive.

Boyadjis, however, said one big challenge stands in Apple's way in marketing CarPlay.

"Frankly, AppleMaps is still problematic. Some consumers may like it, but the lion share of analysts who work with navigation systems say it's not as good as Google... or other systems from companies like Garmin," said Boyadjis.

Experts also foresee that in-car technologies will be among the main factors that will influence consumers when deciding what vehicle to buy this year.

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