TSA_CARS_Volkswagon_iBeetle_interiorVolkswagon have announce iBeetle, a cobranded initiative between Apple & the German car manufacturer, that debuted last week at the Shanghai Motor Show, making it the first car model to integrate the iPhone5 and making it integral to the cars operation.

The smartphone will interface the vehicle functions of the both the Beetle Coupe and Beetle Cabriolet via a specially developed app  Volkswagen Car Net The Beetle and a docking station.

The special models are set to hit the market in parallel with the iPhone 5 at the beginning of 2014, with a related integration of the iPhone 4/4S in the Beetle and Beetle Cabriolet set for the Northern Autumn in 2013.

From the manufacturers: 

The Beetle app

When the app is launched, it can either connect the iPhone to the Beetle (“docked”), or not (“undocked”) – the driver or front passenger decides that. As soon as the iPhone connects to the data network of the Beetle via the app and the docking station (“docked”), it all begins. The app supplies a main menu with the following functions:

  • Spotify
  • Expert
  • Trainer
  • Reader
  • Postcard
  • Photo
  • Post
  • Milestones

The “Trainer” can be used to compare driving times, distances and fuel economy values for different routes between any two destinations. Tips can be posted via social networks like Twitter and Facebook – such as which route leads quicker to the university or to a work destination.

The (social) “Reader” lists the latest messages from social networks like Facebook. There is also a practical function for having iPhone messages read aloud here.

Another communicative functionality is offered by “Postcard”. In response to a touchscreen command, the app sends the current location of the Beetle to friends as a digital postcard with a map motif. Sender identification: “Sent with the Beetle App”.

A photo can be taken from the interior of the Beetle by iPhone camera and sent to social networks with the “Photo” function. Simply activate it, and the app does the rest. Here too, the sender identification is: “Sent with the Beetle App”.

In the “undocked” mode, the “Milestones” menu is available. Here the app rewards its users with virtual “milestone stickers” for the Beetle when certain tasks have been completed. This is how the app playfully guides users through the range of possible applications.

With all these features – one wonders how far away we are presently from having a virtual driver!

Images – Volkswagon.