Coming soon to a steering wheel near you: Siri.
Apple’s vice president of iOS software debuted Eyes Free, a button on the steering wheel that will let drivers use the company’s voice-recognition software. The debut was made at the World Wide Developers Conference.
Scott Forstall said that many automakers were on board as partners, including BMW, General Motors, Toyota, Chrysler, Mercedes-Benz, Land Rover, Audi, Honda and Jaguar. A Chrysler official, however, said no deal had been struck.
A hard-wired button on the steering wheel would be an important development as a growing number of states have prohibited drivers from using handheld devices.
A steering wheel button would allow motorists to access SIRI and, in turn, their iPhone without taking their eyes from the road.
Apple also introduced a new map system at the WWDC in San Francisco, which brings turn-by-turn navigation to iOS.
“We had been skeptical of Apple’s need to develop its own maps program, Goldman Sachs analyst Bill Shope said. “We believe the planned integration with Siri and the company’s increasingly competitive relationship with Google may have been key reasons for the move.”