Apple’s iTunes Radio and iOS in the Car

June 11, 2013, 4:55 a.m.
Dominique Bonte, Vice President, Verticals/End Markets

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Apple recently announced a music streaming service which will be integrated with the iOS7's music application. The service will be free with audio and video advertisements. Ad-free iTunes Radio will cost $24.99 per year. It will be available for Apple TV, Mac, and iPhone. iTunes Radio features Siri voice integration, more than 200 stations, and track skipping. Apple has licensing deals in place with Universal Music, Warner Music, and Sony. iTunes Radio will be available in the fall 2013.

This will allow users using the native Apple streaming app instead of having to download additional apps. It is the natural and logical trend of embedding more and more features as standards services in smartphones which initially were only available as (paying) third party applications. Apple Maps was the first major example of this trend. iTunes Radio is the next one.

What makes all this very relevant to the connected car industry is Apple’s accompanying announcement that it will launch iOS in the Car in 2014 offering seamless integration with in-dash systems including controlling apps via the car display, steering wheel controls, and Siri Eyes Free. Applications include setting up phone calls, listening to music, messaging, and navigation and traffic information. Apple claims 12 car OEMs including Honda, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Ferrari, Chevrolet, Infiniti, Kia, Hyundai, Volvo, Acura, Opel and Jaguar will integrate iOS 7 in the Car in their vehicles by 2014.

With these announcements Apple has a clear answer to initiatives such as MirrorLink which brings the automotive and mobile industries together and agreeing on a common smartphone integration standard. By refusing to support MirrorLink, Apple made it clear from the beginning it was working on its own solution. While this is a blow for MirrorLink, at the same time it confirms and endorses the very concept the CCC stands for. For car OEMs it means they will have to support at least 2 different smartphone integration standards. The 2014 launch date gives Apple some much needed time to improve their mapping and navigation application.