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MacRumors
Dec 22, 2010, 10:47 AM
http://www.macrumors.com/images/macrumorsthreadlogo.gif (http://www.macrumors.com/iphone/2010/12/22/ford-to-offer-in-vehicle-voice-control-of-select-iphone-apps/)


http://images.macrumors.com/article/2010/12/22/114637-ford_sync_dashboard.jpg

Ford today announced (http://media.ford.com/article_display.cfm?article_id=33694) that early next year it will debut its SYNC AppLink voice control integration for select iPhone applications, allowing users to easily control their devices without needing to take their hands off the wheel or eyes off the road. Launching today for 2011 Ford Fiesta owners using BlackBerry and Android devices, iPhone compatibility is set for an early 2011 launch. Additional new car models will also be gaining compatibility in the coming months.“More and more drivers are using their devices and their apps while in the car,” said Doug VanDagens, director of Ford Connected Services. “With AppLink, SYNC is a smarter solution for these drivers who choose to use these apps while driving – making it the only connectivity system available that can extend app functionality to the car using both voice and steering wheel controls.”

Ford is also announcing a surprise new member to the AppLink family: the Apple iPhone. The popular smartphone makes for a powerful addition, and will be joining Android and BlackBerry smartphones as compatible devices with the software that allows apps to be controlled through the SYNC voice recognition system – a smarter alternative to manually controlling apps while driving.The only iPhone applications currently announced as preparing for AppLink capability early next year are Pandora Radio (http://appshopper.com/music/pandora-radio) and Stitcher Radio (http://appshopper.com/news/stitcher-radio), although Ford has promised that more applications are coming soon.

Article Link: Ford to Offer In-Vehicle Voice Control of Select iPhone Apps (http://www.macrumors.com/iphone/2010/12/22/ford-to-offer-in-vehicle-voice-control-of-select-iphone-apps/)



SockRolid
Dec 22, 2010, 11:43 AM
Ford's SYNC runs on the Microsoft Windows Embedded Automotive operating system. Bill Gates and the chairman of Ford announced it back in 2007. Maybe Bill was expecting Windows Mobile, Danger, and KIN to work with it...

timr21
Dec 22, 2010, 01:52 PM
I wonder if this will be available as an upgrade for existing SYNC users/systems? I just ordered a 2011 van with SYNC, and it would be great if this would work with just a software upgrade. Probably wishful thinking.

TimR><>

iBryton
Dec 22, 2010, 02:29 PM
But who would buy a ford unless you are buying a truck?

Jeff Flowerday
Dec 22, 2010, 02:49 PM
The 12 Ford Fiesta owners rejoice...

Spock
Dec 22, 2010, 03:05 PM
I have Sync in my 2009 and would love to have these new features but, Ford and Microsoft do not like to push out updates to older models. I don't know about anybody else but I cant buy a new car for a software update, a car mount and bluetooth work good enough for me.

79 Handyside
Dec 22, 2010, 04:51 PM
the 12 ford fiesta owners rejoice...


They must be beside themselves.

SockRolid
Dec 22, 2010, 06:08 PM
... Ford and Microsoft do not like to push out updates to older models. ...

Substitute Motorola for Ford and Google for Microsoft and you've summed up the situation for Android handset user. LOL.

SockRolid
Dec 22, 2010, 06:22 PM
Ford is far from being the only automaker to offer iPod connectivity. Apple's site claims "Over 90 percent of new cars sold in the United States have an option for iPod connectivity."

The default automaker on the page is Mercedes, but there are many. Here's
Apple's iPod car integration page. (http://www.apple.com/ipod/car-integration/#mercedes)

Only a matter of time before the vast majority have iPhone integration as well. And maybe everyone can throw in iPad integration while they're at it.

invalidname
Dec 22, 2010, 08:29 PM
I didn't think there was anything new in this announcement, but I could be wrong. Ford was at Mobile Monday Detroit (http://mobilemondaydetroit.org/) a few months ago and showed off a couple vehicles with the new stuff, a 2011 Edge with MyFordTouch (touch screen in center console and small video displays in the dash operated by D-pads on the steering wheel) and a 2011 Fiesta with MyFordTouch and AppLink. The Fiesta was running the Pandora app from some kind of mobile device (don't remember if it was an iPhone or a Zune or something else). The Fiesta will be the first with AppLink, although other 2011 models with MyFordTouch may be firmware upgradeable later.

You can get on the waiting list for the SDK here: https://secure.syncmyride.com/Own/Modules/Developer/Subscribe.aspx. The developers said that conceptually, AppLink works like an X Window Server: the client app on the device issues commands to MyFordTouch, telling it what to draw on the display or on the dash. It runs over Bluetooth for most devices, but uses the dock cable for iOS (they didn't say why, but I've heard that Apple's External Accessosry / Works With iPhone program is grievously restrictive, so maybe that has something to do with it).

--Chris (invalidname)

batchtaster
Dec 23, 2010, 12:18 AM
Great. You can use your apps via an ugly, low-res monochrome screen. I really don't know why none of these companies are using the iPhone or iPad as the car screen.

Dock it into the console and it's does its climate/entertainment/etc controls. Stop the car, undock it and take it with you. Feature updates via App Store, load music, etc on via iTunes sync as normal.

Replace an entire embedded operating system? There's (should be) an app for that.

afd
Dec 23, 2010, 04:01 AM
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_2_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8C148 Safari/6533.18.5)

My wife has an '09 fiesta display looks the same as one in the picture. I've always looked small cars, so I prefer it to my focus. iPhone integration isn't the best though- the connection lead is too short and ridgid, there is nowhere to put the phone, and if you move it the wrong way the cable comes out, there is no search facility for ipod so you have to scroll for ages to find the right track, worst though is you can't choose a permanent default for audio source, if Bluetooth is on it always goes back to Bluetooth, which means a couple of minutes of mucking about at the start of each journey. Very annoying if my wife gives me a lift and the last thing I was listening to was an audiobook, the iPhone starts sending to Bluetooth, even though all we hear is a cd or the radio. Then I go to listen to the book later and wonder why I've missed a few chapters.

invalidname
Dec 23, 2010, 08:29 AM
Great. You can use your apps via an ugly, low-res monochrome screen. I really don't know why none of these companies are using the iPhone or iPad as the car screen.

I think you're misunderstanding or misrepresenting the point of the in-car information technologies. The first priority of these systems is safety: they're focused on performing communication and entertainment in a way that does not distract the driver. Keep in mind that the first version of Ford's system, Microsoft SYNC, was entirely voice-controlled.

An iPhone is a great UI in your hand, but it's not so hot in a car -- the precision needed for touches is much finer than the coarse gestures needed to operate the car, and there's a mental context shift between the two that is distracting, and therefore dangerous. The idea of AppLink is to adapt the functionality of your apps to the UI provided by the car, one that is specifically optimized for use while driving.

I've developed an app for finding gas, food, and lodging at exits while you're driving on US limited-access freeways (here's your link (http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/road-tip/id345368399?mt=8)). I started work on this after my kids demanded Taco Bell when we were on an unfamiliar highway and I foolishly tried to use the built-in Maps app. Steering and pinch-zooming don't mix, and I'll never do something so foolish again.

So I built my app to be highly "glanceable", to limit its display to what you could read with a 1 or 2 second glance, and to only require a single thumb to operate. I can use this while holding the phone in my right hand with my thumb and index finger, using the other three fingers to hold the wheel. So it's OK for that, though it's still a little distracting to hold the phone while driving at all -- just the same it's safer to talk on a hands-free headset than to hold the phone while you drive. I've had poor sales and pretty bad reviews compared to similar "find stuff at exit" apps, but those apps employ a much more complex GUI, using pinch-zoomable maps for example. How do they get around the distraction and safety problem? One of them does so by presenting an end-user license agreement that specifically prohibits its use while driving… which to me seems unenforceable, as it's the whole point of this kind of app.

So I respect what Ford is trying to do by building a UI that is comprehensive and yet still safe to use while driving. That the Fiesta's MyFordTouch screen is monochrome shouldn't be that surprising, since the Fiesta is an entry-level car. The displays on the Edge are much nicer (demo here (http://www.ford.com/crossovers/edge/experienceedge/)).

How serious is the safety stuff? One of my CocoaHeads friends in the Detroit area used to work with Sun on getting JavaME into cars. As of just a few years ago, the legal department at Ford told their group "as soon as you have arbitrary code running in this vehicle, it can never be driven again." So their demo car had to be trucked to events, as even Ford employees were not allowed to drive it, such was the fear of liability ("every time a bumper dings, a lawyer's telephone rings"). That to me answered the question of why Ford isn't putting out an SDK for apps that run on the onboard computers: they could never review third-party apps to a sufficient degree to satisfy the lawyers.

I should also mention that AppLink apparently lets developers use the SYNC voice stuff too, by sending it text to speak or prompts to listen for. If I ever get the SDK, I'm sorely tempted to abandon the screen UI altogether and do a SYNC-only version of my app that would call out the upcoming exits over the speaker and let you select them with speech commands. I had originally hoped to add this through an iOS speech API, but there isn't one, and working with the vehicle's built in speaker and mic is less fussy (and therefore safer) than dicking around with a headset or holding the phone anyways.

nagromme
Dec 23, 2010, 12:07 PM
Ever since iOS 4.0, any iOS audio app can be controlled by any dock-connected remote controls. For instance my iTrip AutoPilot has play/pause/skip controls mounted on the lighter charger, and they used to only control iPod music, but now they control Pandora too. (Just like the recent-app-switcher lets you control audio apps without launching them.)

Ford’s going farther than just that, but something similar is possible now with various in-car solutions (some very cheap) and it’s really nice! I listen to almost nothing but Pandora while driving, and I never have to touch the screen. (And Navigon speaks directions through it all, complete with ducking.)

batchtaster
Dec 25, 2010, 07:26 AM
I think you're misunderstanding or misrepresenting the point of the in-car information technologies.

Not at all.

I never said anything about using the existing iPhone/iPad/iOS UI. I'm talking about custom UI, like a big chunk of the iOS apps already out there, written by the car companies or a developer working on their behalf. Ford can make their UI as ugly as they want, as ugly as the existing SYNC UI already is. But instead of limiting/tethering it to the on-board hardware, write it as an iOS app instead and run it off the iPhone, or more likely the iPad, as the screen. Integrate other vehicular hardware (eg: speakers, stereo, speedo, everything else) via the Dock connector. Simple.

These things are not that magical or complex. It's simply a computer, on which the SYNC software runs. It's connected to a display in the dash. There is a Bluetooth chipset for phones, a connection to a USB port for an MP3 player or other USB device, and links to the vehicular management systems, eg: aircon. Draw a circle around the computer, the software and the display, and replace the bits inside that circle with an iPad and a custom iPad app with a UI as ugly, proprietary and Ford-ized as you like. Done.

andycr
Dec 26, 2010, 07:30 PM
Save your money and get a stereo with Pandora connectivity built in. Buying a car just for this would be like buying a boat because it has a nice towel warmer. I drive an older but reliable car with no debt, and just got an Alpine IDA-X305S for Pandora interaction, but there are many others. There's far more important things to do with your money, if you just want this. Oh, and it has an actual color screen, not something from your alarm clock in the 90s.

Yes, I've driven a car with Sync (a nice 265HP Fusion rental), and besides my bias against Ford it was good but not amazing. The phone features were the best, but with my iPhone it kept losing all the contacts (not sure whose fault that was, but I suspect Ford). And yes, the "screen" was that bad.

Muscle Master
Dec 27, 2010, 12:05 PM
But who would buy a ford unless you are buying a truck?

You do know Ford tops toyota and honda right.. I would buy one but I have enough cars

CaryMacGuy
Jan 3, 2011, 07:54 AM
I hope that they offer it as a software upgrade for existing vehicles. I would love to be able to control Pandora from my car head unit. I don't see why that wouldn't be possible. I don't think additional hardware is required to make that happen.

jeffy.dee-lux
Jan 4, 2011, 10:27 AM
But who would buy a ford unless you are buying a truck?

Whoa, talk about an out of date view point. Have you paid attention to the automotive industry at all in the past 5 years? Maybe there's a reason Ford's stock price has increased over 10-fold in the past two years... Consumer Reports and JD Power quality surveys regularly put Ford cars on par with the best from Japan these days. I can't stand all the self-proclaimed experts out there who dish out their own brand of car-buying advice without having done any research themselves, other than what they've heard from other similar experts, all having a good laugh at a "Fix Or Repair Daily" joke and patting themselves on the back. Get with the times and pick up a copy of Motor Trend or Consumer Reports or something! Better yet, just save yourself some time and skim over Autoblog.com a couple times a week!

Duropower
Jan 4, 2011, 10:33 AM
But who would buy a ford unless you are buying a truck?

Me and many other true Americans who knows are the best cars and also contribute in our economy! Well let's not compare it to crapy toyotas!

jeffy.dee-lux
Jan 5, 2011, 12:39 PM
Whoa, talk about an out of date view point. Have you paid attention to the automotive industry at all in the past 5 years? Maybe there's a reason Ford's stock price has increased over 10-fold in the past two years... Consumer Reports and JD Power quality surveys regularly put Ford cars on par with the best from Japan these days. I can't stand all the self-proclaimed experts out there who dish out their own brand of car-buying advice without having done any research themselves, other than what they've heard from other similar experts, all having a good laugh at a "Fix Or Repair Daily" joke and patting themselves on the back. Get with the times and pick up a copy of Motor Trend or Consumer Reports or something! Better yet, just save yourself some time and skim over Autoblog.com a couple times a week!

It seems even the masses are ahead of you on this one:
http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/cars/new-cars/news/2011/01/2011-car-brand-perception-survey/overview/index.htm

Now, the two brands rank a close first and second in overall perception, with Ford having a clear advantage in the factors that matter most to car shoppers: Safety, quality, and value.

rtdunham
Jan 5, 2011, 03:15 PM
Great. You can use your apps via an ugly, low-res monochrome screen. I really don't know why none of these companies are using the iPhone or iPad as the car screen.

Dock it into the console and it's does its climate/entertainment/etc controls. Stop the car, undock it and take it with you. Feature updates via App Store, load music, etc on via iTunes sync as normal.

Replace an entire embedded operating system? There's (should be) an app for that.

I get that the carmakers don't do it because they'd make nothing, instead of good profits on factory installed GPS & bluetooth units. What I don't understand is what's preventing after-market adoptions...

I wish I understood the tech better. What's to stop sake if a simple but stylish mounting device fitted for different dashes, for, say, the iPad (or, agreed, the iPhone): You have up to a 9" GPS, bluetooth phone, and voice control over some apps; it can be removed and taken with you, moved from car to car, updated/replaced with nothing more than, at most, the cost of a new mount. You could even watch live radar video of the area you're driving into.

How thoroughly does apple's stuff facilitate these uses? How close do they come to (or exceed) what Ford's announcing?

edit: nice explanation, invalidname. I'll take a look at your app.
edit 2: just looked at it. looks nice, bought it, looking forward to using it on road trip next week. thanks!

tjmrpm04
Jan 5, 2011, 05:13 PM
Me and many other true Americans who knows are the best cars and also contribute in our economy! Well let's not compare it to crapy toyotas!

You do realize that most foreign cars are manufactured here in the US now right? And those are employees by mostly Americans. Thus, they too contribute to the economy? And I tend to think of myself as a true American but don't feel obligated to buy something inferior just because it was made in the US. With that said, I do own and Explorer and and F150.

Duropower
Jan 9, 2011, 07:10 PM
You do realize that most foreign cars are manufactured here in the US now right? And those are employees by mostly Americans. Thus, they too contribute to the economy? And I tend to think of myself as a true American but don't feel obligated to buy something inferior just because it was made in the US. With that said, I do own and Explorer and and F150.

First of all. Americans cars are not inferior. The last time I check Toyota and honda had most (Japanese cars) 8 of the 10 worst recall! Ford had none! Dodge had none mayor recall. Gm had one!

Second of all. Japanese cars produced in USA are manufactured only. Most of the parts are imported (about 90%). GM only imports about 23%. So it produces 77%.
Third of all. All the engineering is made overseas! For the Japanese!
Remember most is perception that they have better engineering. Check all the stuff GM has invented or has installed first (and I do not have one GM yet). obviously if you copy (photograph or backward engineered probably less problems will occur. That's why anti locks , independent suspension, power everything was first on German and Americans car. Lately they have being installing and that's why they now have problems too!

Aeroflux
Jan 16, 2011, 08:19 AM
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 3_1_3 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/528.18 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0 Mobile/7E18 Safari/528.16)

Its amazing in this time that all software on a car isnt upgradeable. As much as I like the iphone, I could put a full color capacitive AND transflective touch screen with a speedy DIN1 PC in my car for far less than what the average cost is for navigation systems. Its a ridiculous divide that will backfire on the car industry as soon as the population realizes how much they are being ripped off.

In reply to this moronic fight over whether america or japan is the better manufacturer in cars (this is a global economy people, get with the times), I would point out the major GM recall that took place just recently; over 26k vehicles. It was due to something about the possibility of the rear axles locking up. No manufacturer is perfect and while the population may not realize the existence of globalization, american companies do. So all this banter about who is better for our economy is pretty shortsighted.

jeffy.dee-lux
Jan 17, 2011, 03:48 PM
In terms of quality and reliability, most surveys and studies show that american and japanese cars are more or less on par these days, simple as that. Neither is much better than the other. In terms of styling, I would argue that a few of the Toyota and Honda stalwarts have gotten VERY stale (corolla, accord, civic, camry) and are in need of major attention, but I'll concede that that's subjective.

In terms of recalls, 26K is far from a "major" recall. But yeah, don't go thinking that anybody has a spotless record, and Toyota's was far from the largest ever. It was just really poorly handled, they fumbled around with the issue a lot and confused and frightened a lot of people.

zin
Feb 1, 2011, 12:41 PM
I just came from the newest article and I honestly thought this thread title said "Ford to offer in-app vehicle control for iPhones".

How devastated I was to re-read the title. :(

neoelectronaut
Feb 1, 2011, 01:01 PM
I would like to say that Sync is a sack of **** as far as Music playing is concerned. It flat out refuses to read my 1G 32GB iPod Touch running 3.1.3 (and I can't seem to get it to downgrade to 2.2.1, which I'm sure it won't have as much trouble with) and it won't index over half of my iPhone's music because of the "Compilation" option being set on a good number of songs, which I refuse to remove because it really messes up the organization of my iTunes library.

Photics
Feb 1, 2011, 05:01 PM
But who would buy a ford unless you are buying a truck?

My current car is a Ford and I'm thinking that my next car will be a Ford too. The 2012 Ford Focus Electric looks cool and the Ford Mustang is awesome. Wow... 30+ MPG in a cool looking sports car!

although Ford has promised that more applications are coming soon.

HA HA! Does it work with Angry Birds?! :p

ME: KITT, Launch red bird 45° at maximum power.
KITT: Right away Michael!

WoWG
Feb 2, 2011, 04:52 PM
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 3_1_3 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/528.18 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0 Mobile/7E18 Safari/528.16)

Its amazing in this time that all software on a car isnt upgradeable. As much as I like the iphone, I could put a full color capacitive AND transflective touch screen with a speedy DIN1 PC in my car for far less than what the average cost is for navigation systems. Its a ridiculous divide that will backfire on the car industry as soon as the population realizes how much they are being ripped off.

In reply to this moronic fight over whether america or japan is the better manufacturer in cars (this is a global economy people, get with the times), I would point out the major GM recall that took place just recently; over 26k vehicles. It was due to something about the possibility of the rear axles locking up. No manufacturer is perfect and while the population may not realize the existence of globalization, american companies do. So all this banter about who is better for our economy is pretty shortsighted.

I think the population is pretty aware of globalization.
More cars need to be manufactured here in the United States and exported, I think the other commenter just had a sense of ethnocentrism.

MyMac8MyPC
Feb 15, 2011, 12:19 PM
My current car is a Ford and I'm thinking that my next car will be a Ford too. The 2012 Ford Focus Electric looks cool

Same here. I'm amazed by how nice my 2010 is. No doubt about it for the past couple of years Ford has been on a roll. Now they are going to come out with the C-MAX Energi (http://www.ford.com/crossovers/cmax/?searchid=426441%7C28125566%7C205373347). I was excited about the Chevy Volt until they increased to price so high. They can keep it. The 2012 Ford Focus Electric recharges in much less time anyway (3 hours) and looks better. I can't wait to buy an electric car and truly stick it to the oil companies. BTW I LOVE my SYNC! Just wish Ford supported it better as they promised they would. Hopefully this new tech will be available for existing SYNC customers too :apple:

Aidoon
Feb 17, 2011, 09:23 AM
Wow, this is a super initiative. I would like to use this with MapQuest, texting, email, assuming the voice recognition piece works.

I got in a Ford car for the first time in a while at a recent trade show. I was amazed at how the interior had changed from what I remembered. They have really made changes for the better and this seems like another step in the right direction.

Kudos to Microsoft for opening up to iPhone.

Win, win, win.