The big players in technology are constantly looking for another field to expand into. This has been a particular concern of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) on the back of a fall in its share price which was precipitated by less than impressive revenue figures, which had city analysts wondering if further expansion in Apple’s existing portfolio of products would be possible.
Despite Apple achieving excellent sales figures for both tablets and smartphones, it is generally assumed that there is only so far that the tech giant can squeeze its iPhone and iPad product range. Thus, Apple is at the forefront of tech companies seeking new marketplaces to plunder.
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In-car tech the next battleground
It is perhaps not surprising then that Apple is attempting to become a major player in the automotive industry. Reports of meetings between Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) executives and the CEO of electric car manufacturer Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) lead some to speculate that Apple could be intimately involved in the production of electric cars on some level. What seems far more likely though is that Apple has touched base with Tesla in order to push its in-car technology.
This year has seen the battle for in-car technology between Apple, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) hot up, as each of the major companies sees the opportunity to place itself at the center of domestic vehicles all over the world. While Apple is heavily pushing its CarPlay service, Google has produced the Android-based Open Automotive Alliance as another Android and iOS battle rages.
Thus, all three companies are currently courting the automotive industry; the most likely reason for Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s meeting with Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA). Major auto manufacturers are currently offering their support to one medium or the other, although some are still in the process of deciding whether to opt for Google, Apple or Microsoft, although the Windows manufacturer can consider itself to be a distinctly distant third at the moment.
Apple has high hopes for its CarPlay technology, which is essentially an update from previous car connectivity. Previously Apple’s in-car tech enabled music to be streamed into the vehicle from iPods or iPhones via dock connectors. But CarPlay utilizes Apple’s new Lightning Connector. This is something of a double-edged sword, as the technology is only compatible with the iPhone 5, 5S and 5C, but the new technology enables far greater connectivity and adds significant functionality. For example, CarPlay provides the ability to power the navigation system of the car, place calls and read messages aloud, and virtually every function of a vehicle can now be powered, controlled and commanded using Apple’s Siri voice assistance software.
Apple signs major CarPlay deals
Unquestionably, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has some catching up to do in this sphere. Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) has been more active, and its Google Glass technology has been positioned for explicit use in the automobile market. But Apple has made agreements with some extremely large and prestigious car manufacturers, with Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo all announcing that CarPlay would be fitted to some of their vehicles in 2014. BMW, Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F), General Motors Company (NYSE:GM), Honda Motor Co Ltd (ADR) (NYSE:HMC) (TYO:7267), Hyundai Motor Co (KRX:005380), Jaguar, Land Rover, Kia, Mitsubishi, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. (ADR) (OTCMKTS:NSANY) (TYO:7201), Peugeot SA (ADR) (OTCMKTS:PEUGY), Citroën, Subaru, Suzuki and Toyota Motor Corp (ADR) (NYSE:TM) have all also indicated an intention to work with CarPlay in the future.
The in-car tech war is just beginning.