Volkswagen has announced that it will be launching iBeetle – a new Beetle model in 2014 at the Shanghai Auto Show earlier today, which will come with a “genuine integrative interface” for the iPhone in partnership with Apple.
The specially designed models will essentially come with a docking station for the iPhone and an app called Volkswagen Car Net The Beetle, which will offer an interface to vehicle functions of the Beetle.
Volkswagen has provided the following details about the docking station and the app in the press release:
Located centrally on the dashboard of the Beetle is the newly designed docking station (cradle), in which the iPhone is integrated by simply snapping it in – similar to a mobile navigation system. And then the fun can begin. Essentially, all iPhone functions can be used in the Beetle; the iPhone can be used to navigate, telephone naturally via a hands-free unit, listen to music from the media library via the audio system’s amplifier and loudspeakers, and much more …
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” lets users stream media such as new songs, customised playlists or online radio stations directly to the iPhone and from there into the sound system of the Beetle. Those who wish can post their favourite music directly to friends. In addition, users in the Beetle can switch between “Spotify” and “iTunes” at any time.
Under the “Expert” menu, the app offers five functions which make the iPhone an extended on-board instrument of the Beetle. Offered here are a G-Meter (for measuring transverse acceleration), oil and coolant temperature gauges for the engine, a chronometer and a compass.
The “Trainer” can be used to compare driving times, distances and fuel economy values for different routes between any two destinations. Here too, 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.
iBeetle will be available at the beginning of 2014. The special model will be available as a Coupé and Cabriolet. Volkswagen says that it has conceptualized the iBeetle for the debut of iPhone 5 integration, but as The Verge points out since iBeetle will be available only in early 2014, it will be meant for the iPhone 5S or iPhone 6, as Apple would have released the new iPhone by that time.