Google’s algorithmically-driven cars may be partially designed to give commuters more time to surf the Internet (using Google, natch!), but if a new report from ABI Research is anything to go by, it’s Apple who have the real early adopter advantage in terms of connected in-vehicle infotainment systems.
ABI Research forecasts that shipments of such infotainment systems, equipped with one or more smartphone integration technologies, will grow substantially over the next five years — reaching 35.1 million units globally by 2018. Of these, ABI projects an impressive 49.8% will be running Apple’s “iOS in the Car”, the standard for allowing iOS devices to work with manufacturers’ built-in in-car systems as unveiled during the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference back in June.
“Apple seems to have a plan to roll out this pretty aggressively in 2014,” says Gareth Owen, principal analyst at ABI Research — pointing out that this is “one of the main assumptions behind” ABI’s conclusions. This is a direct response to Tim Cook’s enthusiast description of iOS in the Car at WWDC, claiming that it will be “very, very important” to Apple and a “key focus” for the company going forward.
“Car OEMs face the difficult challenges of not only how best to integrate smartphones into their vehicles, but also how to ensure that the integration strategy remains viable throughout the life of the vehicle and multiple generations of smartphones,” Gareth Owen continues. “It is inevitable that consumers will demand to be able to use their smartphones in cars, even in luxury cars equipped with the latest top-of-the-range fully embedded infotainment systems. However, OEMs producing lower-end mass-market cars will probably invest significantly less on developing their own systems and rely more on smartphones-centric infotainment solutions.”
Since our cars are one of the few places we still can’t take full advantage of total connectivity, it’s no surprise that tech companies are climbing over themselves to grab a part of a market that could be huge in a few years’ time. And if you believe ABI Research, Apple may have a pretty big piece of the pie.