Apple's Eyes-Free Steering Wheel Button Access to iOS6 applications, including Siri, Navigation

Apple's Eyes-Free Steering Wheel Button Access to iOS6 applications, including Siri, Navigation

Today, at its World-Wide Developers' Conference (WWDC), Apple announced that it was working with Audi, BMW, Chrysler, General Motors, Honda, Jaguar, Land Rover, Mercedes-Benz and Toyota (but not our favorite maker) to introduce a steering wheel button that allows the driver to use voice commands to invoke a number of iOS6 features. There's a lot of coverage all over the web, but here's what Apple says:

With the Eyes Free feature, ask Siri to call people, select and play music, hear and compose text messages, use Maps and get directions,
read your notifications, find calendar information, add reminders, and more.

Obviously the Model S screen and built-in features do many of these things, but it's unclear how many are voice-activated at this point. Will we have to wait for Tesla to release the SDK to allow third parties to integrate well with an iPhone? Will it be possible even then? Or, will Tesla itself step up to the plate and provide this sort of integration for us along the way.

Two great Silicon Valley companies should be working very closely together!

Thumper | June 11, 2012

If TM offers something like this, it will probably be in collaboration with Google. They seem to be cooperating on mapping and possibly a self-driving car eventually.

BYT | June 11, 2012

I'm a little pissed that Apple didn't specifically work with Tesla to make sure they announced them as well. Poo-poo Timmy, not cool! Had to let my immaturity about the whole situation out... :D

silenus136 | June 11, 2012

George, if you are listening, notwithstanding Tesla's tie-up with Google, PLEASE consider piggy-backing on the incredible Apple investment in Siri and their amazing new, 3D-flyover turn-by-turn nav app and let us access Siri from the steering wheel! Even if you just allow a portion of that gorgeous 17" screen to go into "second screen" mode for those of us with iphone's and we can do the rest right through the existing ios on the phone, while you still honor any Google commitments....
Siri, while rough out of the gate, is an amazing and fast-developing tool that is such a perfect compliment to the whole zeitgeist of the Tesla Model S driving experience, it would be a real shame not to marry the two.

BYT | June 11, 2012

I too would love tight iPhone integration because I believe in best of breed and think the marriage between the two is a no-brainer!

MandL | June 11, 2012

Sorry to disappoint all you fanboys, but Apple is far from best of breed. Spend an hour with a recent Android or Windows Mobile device and see for yourself. Google has has voice control from the beginning, and it's still way better than Apple.

jbunn | June 11, 2012

Two Apple complaints... Apple prefers a "closed" system. Buy it from Apple, and your locked into their system. You cant open it, upgrade it or extend it.

Secondly, Apple isnt the "it" phone, and hasnt been for years. Total market share is only 18% and fading. Integrate around Apple, and your locked in to a loyal but dwindling niche market. Think rim blackberry...

BYT | June 11, 2012

Well, I couldn't disagree more but this isn't an Apple debate! I hope Tesla intigrates very well with all platforms as its a car for the masses and not the fanboys and girls!

dahtye | June 11, 2012

I think it would be nice if the 17" screen has an HDMI input where we could plug any smart phone into and view the smart phone screen on the large screen. I understand the Tegra process has such and input, but it depends on whether TM has designed the system with an HDMI receiver and has a connector available.

But then, we would want the touch screen commands to go to the smart phone for full functionality.

BYT | June 11, 2012

You have AirPlay on the Mac and other mirroring software on Android so this is very doable!

BYT | June 11, 2012

I said Mac but meant Apple. I have been doing this for too long! :)

DallasTXModelS | June 11, 2012

Siri is not even a product developed by Apple it was purchased from a third party. Google voice command does everything that Siri does and actually correctly hears what you say 99% of the time. The funniest thing about Siri is that most of the things you ask it, it doesn't know the answer and opens up a Google search for you to find the answer.

I had an iPhone for 4 years and was so glad when I got a Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket. I am so glad to be freed from iTunes. The iPhone could not show the embedded videos in webpages because they have that crazy feud going on with Adobe, and the YouTube app can only show you YouTube videos that have been pre converted to Apple's format.

I'm surprised this forum wasn't about the 15" retina Macbook Pro display being substituted for the 17" screen.

Sudre_ | June 11, 2012

I just hope Apple doesn't run around suing everyone in a few years saying that it's all their idea and they have patented it.... oh wait they already have. Tesla doesn't use multi-touch do they?

DallasTXModelS | June 11, 2012

Supposedly they use the exact 17"touch screen used by Apple and they are buying directly from supplierto Apple. Meaning Apple buys their 17" touch screen monitor from a third party as well.

DallasTXModelS | June 11, 2012
phb | June 11, 2012

Since I imagine that it's really some kind of combination of pass through the car's built-in mic and a special command to activate Siri I doubt that it would be all that hard for Tesla to implement given the flexibility of the giant touch screen. Also, given the fact the Apple sells millions of iPhones each year I can't imagine that it would be a bad thing for Tesla to provide that option for folks.

I'm not going to get into the debate between the Apple and Google ways of doind things. I have spent time with the newest offerings with Android and I still prefer iOS.

Seriously though, first and foremost, Tesla needs to start delivering near-perfect Model Ss to reservation holders; that's probably enough for them to focus on right now. Let's hope they avoid the Karma debacle!

BYT | June 11, 2012

Speaking of Karma, one drove through the lot of Tesla Motors today around noon. We were not sure if it was envy and they wanted to check out a Model S or if they wanted to "show off"

Either way, I told the sales guys the Karma can't hold a candle to the Model S... :D

ChristianG | June 11, 2012

Wow my 2005 Prius can do most of that, including setting the AC-Temperature, Music Volume and son on. but Apple is so inventive, making it so new. Androide has a wake up command so you can do that without a button... so really what's cool with that? you even can pick up the phone with a button the steering wheel.

Voice commmands in most cases suck anyway. They don't work if you're not alone in a car, unless you make everyone else shut up, and they take longer than pushing a button anyway.

Sure the Prius commands where kinda basic compared with what Android and I/OS can do now. But there aren't many circumstances where I think I'd need voice control. Give me buttons on the steering wheel so I don't have to take my hands of it and all is fine.

phb | June 12, 2012

Was the Karma poking along in "stealth mode" or was it getting 20mpg in "power mode" (or whatever).

dtich | June 12, 2012

Sorry to disappoint all you fanboys, but Apple is far from best of breed. Spend an hour with a recent Android or Windows Mobile device and see for yourself. Google has has voice control from the beginning, and it's still way better than Apple.

beg to differ. apple may adopt features slightly more slowly than others, but they implement them beautifully and highly usably... and then they become de rigueur in the industry. (and, what's wrong with taking the time to do things RIGHT??? what's wrong with people today?? f-ing relax.) tm will do themselves a great favor by integrating iOS very flexibly into their ecosystem--as well as android. to each his own...

but to say apple is lagging in the market and in innovation is... well, silly. just plain ole wrong.

check out any current mobile phone market analysis chart... iOS is performing fantastically. android certainly has a bigger install base, but it also has mountains of system fragmentation and that above all else could be a real drag for a car maker in terms of integration.

and re: voice control, i have been using siri in my car (x5) for years (well, however long siri's been out in beta...:) ), there is a button on the steering wheel that activates it and i use it over the car mic and speakers easy as pie. yes, it may not have pulled up turn by turn directions, or been able to open an app... but all that is now moot as i did both those things just this evening on iOS 6.

apple may take their time, but only because they do it right. and i must confess i've never suffered one minute from iOS being a closed dev system. do. not. care. i get every app i can ever think of and more without jail breaking and wouldn't want apple to let in all the bs/malware/garbage that plagues android markets... not for one second.

dtich | June 12, 2012

.....of course the quote tags didn't work.... first p'graph is a quote from above....

ChristianG | June 12, 2012

I don't say Apple is bad, but I just don't get it why this is big news? these kinda thing is around for years and as soon apple fart in a directions it s big news... well it's not.

I agree, that for the user I/OS being a closed system is not really relevant. It's a philosophy question on the most part. Kinda like the freedom of speech in a country far away where we get our clothes produced. As a company who develops stuff and then is dependant on that close system I might think twice about it.

I personally don't think I/OS and Android are far appart in usability and design. I never had problems with Malwere on Android. My friends are all happy with der Isomethingsproducts. I personally had some bad experiances with my apple products wich is why I'm on android now. I know I'm the exception and the only thing I'm missing on android is the magnetic ipad cover :P

steven.maes | June 12, 2012

So if I would summarize the comments in this topic I would say that Tesla needs a software that can be voice controled. Whether it is from apple or android or any other company, I don't really care. They could call it Tessi in stead of Sirri for all I care...
Couldn't care less, as long as it works...

Perhaps this is one of the aces in ELon's sleeve, but that's another topic...

Volker.Berlin | June 12, 2012

Speaking of Karma, one drove through the lot of Tesla Motors today around noon. We were not sure if it was envy and they wanted to check out a Model S or if they wanted to "show off"

My guess: Neither, nor. That guy is actually a Model S reservation holder and is impatient as anyone on this forum to have his delivered! To kill the time he purchased a Karma, because, truth be told, Fisker were significantly earlier to market than Tesla.

Timo | June 12, 2012

Fisker were significantly earlier to market than Tesla.

Not true, Roadster was way earlier in the market than Karma :-P

Roadster is earlier than Karma which is earlier than Model S which is earlier than Surf which is earlier than Model X (I guess) which is earlier than...

BYT | June 12, 2012

The final logical conclusion to your post is, "chicken to the egg"

But to comment on the Karma, if they did hold a reservation then why not park and come in to see one of the 3 Model S' parked at the Menlo Park store rather then pull into a dead end parking lot with a horrible traffic light to get back out I might add. The Black Model S' I was told was very very close to Production ready, I am now kicking myself for not checking the VIN on it(since I know some of ya would ask). :D

Volker.Berlin | June 12, 2012

But to comment on the Karma, if they did hold a reservation then why not park and come in to see one of the 3 Model S' parked at the Menlo Park store [...]

Maybe they weren't in the mood to show and discuss the Karma, which would have inevitably ensued... Didn't you know they came back later that day when there were no more Tesla fanboys like yourself hanging around? ;-)

BYT | June 12, 2012

LOL@Volker.Berlin, I am far too humble to think the sight of me at a Tesla Motors store would scare off a Karma owner. Although if he did talk to me about it, I almost would assuredly have him driving off with buyers remorse for buying the Karma in the first place. But maybe he leased it, that would be good Karma indeed! ;)

mbcaffe | June 12, 2012

Getting back to the topic. When I was at the factory tour last October, Elon mentioned specifically that there would be apple app to remotely monitor the car. You would be able to such things as check battery life, start the AC and locate the car. Does anybody else who was at the event hear about the same things I did?

BYT | June 12, 2012

@mbcaffe, well for the sake of staying on topic, here you go:

Volker.Berlin | June 12, 2012

mbcaffe, you mean, like this one?

Or this one?
The Tesla App allows you to check your state of charge remotely. If you’re eating lunch or shopping, pull up the app to see if you have recovered the range needed to get to your next destination. A few minutes before you're ready to hit the road, use the app to heat or cool the cabin to your preferred temperature. The Tesla App will be available for iPhone and Android devices later this summer. > Check on your car

mbcaffe | June 12, 2012

thanks Volker. You are great search engine for Tesla!

DallasTXModelS | June 12, 2012

Speaking of Apple and suing, a class action lawsuit was filed saying that Sirius can't do much of what is advertised in the commercials, they are false and misleading. The local CBS station investigated the story found much of the same. Apple answered back that SIRI is only a beta software and can't be expected to work like it does in the commercials. They think the lawsuit should be dropped because noone took advantage of the 30day return policy. Go figure. I know I wouldn't want to be arguing with such an unintelligent product through my $90k Model S or have it incharge of anything to do with the cars electronics while I was driving.

cerjor | June 12, 2012

Blankenship said in today's blog that apps for the iPhone and Android devices would be available later this summer. What about an app for Win 7 phones? Siri used to claim the Nokio 900 was the best smart phone and it uses the Win 7 operating system.

DallasTXModelS | June 13, 2012

Well then that's just another thing SIRI got wrong. Cnet reviewed the Smartphonesfor 2012 and the Motorola Droid Raze with Android icecream sandwich OS is the number 1, followed by the Samsung Galaxy S II also with Android icecream sandwich OS. And that iPhone is now not the king of cellphones but currently third, but will continue to move down the list as the other Android phones start shipping with Icecream sandwich OS. And down apple goes.

Timo | June 14, 2012

I believe Win8 smartphones also go high in the list once they start to deliver it. Anyway, people don't use OS, they use apps. OS is there only to give easy access to apps. Whoever makes most intuitive OS with big enough quantity of good apps in decent price tag wins the competition.

Mark E | June 14, 2012

Who cares if Apple or Android or even Windows phones ship more?
Buy the one you like most. The iPhone has the biggest market share as because although there are more android phones sold, they are across lots of manufacturers with different custom implementations.

Anyway - I'm pretty sure that phone integration across the board should let you access the features on your phone. The parrot car kit that I currently use activates Siri on my iPhone perfectly.

MandL | June 14, 2012

Anyway, people don't use OS, they use apps. OS is there only to give easy access to apps.

Apps are indeed the main human interface point, especially if you consider as apps the built-in OS functions like contacts, phone, calendar, etc. While those are critical, and there is wide variability in the usefulness of different companies implementations, there is a whole world of underlying system capabilities that impact and and even define the user experience. These are enabled (and crippled) by both manufacturer and service provider. How many years was it before Apple finally properly implemented Bluetooth for example? Why is it Google Voice can only receive MMS messages sent by phones on Sprint's network?
In general, I prefer a more open system (e.g., Google's) to a closed one (Apple). But I absolutely refuse to have the rest of my digital life hijacked as the price of using a particular brand of phone. I told you can now use an iPhone or iPad without completely ruining your PC with iTunes, but it's too little too late for me. ;-)

Brian H | June 14, 2012

Yes, years ago I found Itunes to be abusively restrictive, and eschewed any contact, installation, linkage with it. It goes way too far down a dead-end street.

BYT | June 14, 2012

I don't use iTunes anymore after iOS 5 went OWA updates!

Designtime | June 15, 2012

Since we have veered off topic, I will say that people say that OS's are just a vehicle for apps, but I think people have just been trained to think that way.

A different way of looking at your OS is it gives you context based things to do based on your available info. I think you have already seen Android and iOS try to make themselves more to be that way. Apple has no need to publicize much that since they have such a commanding lead in available mobile apps.

Timo | June 16, 2012

OS and UI are two different things.

jerry3 | June 16, 2012

- OS and UI are two different things.


Designtime | June 16, 2012

I am not sure if this statement is a response to my comment, but it is obviously true. The OS is responsible for interactions that most people don't think about or see, but influence their experience in the OS.

People have been trained to think that the way their OS looks and what applications are available for it are the only important things.

It is simplistic and flawed, but it is what everyone knows.

I want a Model S | March 25, 2013

Why must it be an Apple vs. Everyone debate. If there is a big demand of iPhone users who purchase Model S it seems like a good idea to add support for Siri. If you love or hate Apple does not matter and product bashing is a waste of time. Tesla should support what their customers use Android, iOS etc.

bbmertz | March 25, 2013

Chevrolet is beginning to advertise the new Siri Eyes Free feature. See the attached article for more details. Too bad Tesla isn't listed as one of the partners with Apple for this new functionality.

tvntesla | March 25, 2013

Apple and Eye-Free are contradiction. Apple rises because the company put a nice touch screen on top of primitive technology and made it fly. Without a nice looking UI, Apple's technology is primitive. Before Apple, I had my Nokia phone in my pocket and could execute a sequence of button to do what I want to do without looking at it. And it worked pretty well. Speed-dial, redial, text, etc. Now, even with voice recognition, I have to look at the screen to verify the commands. I think Tesla should go with Google or Microsoft technologies for new features. Apple is a just a nice looking gadget company which Tesla doesn't need, since Tesla already design great UI for cars. I use iPhone among others but find Android phones more productive. And Google self-driving technology would be a great feature in Tesla car. Just my 2cent