April 19, 2013
Volkswagen is set to unveil the iBeetle at the Shanghai Auto Show, which begins tomorrow, April 20. The new car is the first from the German company to integrate with Apple’s iPhone through the use of a dedicated app and docking station. The iBeetle, and iBeetle Convertible will both launch as 2014 models, and be available at the start of the year. According to Volkswagen, the docking station is located centrally on the dashboard of the iBeetle. From here, a driver can use the iPhone to navigate, make calls hands-free, listen to music, and more. The iBeetle app works via the docking station, or may be used wirelessly. Features include:
The special edition iBeetle will also come with other customized features in addition to the standard iPhone interface. These include 18-inch “Disc” alloy wheels, door mirror housings, and more. On the inside, the iBeetle includes steering wheel accents and a dash pad executed in “Galvano Grey.” The iBeetle is also upgraded by a customized shift lever grip, black sport seats in "Vienna" leather, and contrasting seams in light "Ceramique." Autoblog calls the iBeetle little more than a “factory rehash of aftermarket items.” In particular, they wonder what happens to the special dock when Apple changes the shape and form of “its darling handheld at every generation.” On this point, I have the same concerns. However, until I actually see the iBeetle in person, I’ll reserve judgement. How about you? [gallery]
- Spotify: lets users stream media such as new songs, customized playlists or online radio stations into the Beetle. Those who wish can post their favorite music directly to friends. In addition, users in the Beetle can switch between "Spotify" and "iTunes" at any time.
- Expert: offers five functions which make the iPhone an extended on-board instrument of the Beetle, such as a G-Meter (for measuring lateral acceleration), oil and coolant temperature gauges for the engine, a chronometer, and a compass.
- 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 is faster to the office.
- Reader: lists the latest messages from social networks like Facebook, and reads iPhone messages aloud.
- Postcard: Sends the current location of the Beetle to friends as a digital postcard with a map motif.
- Photo: Sends photos taken inside the car to numerous social networks. Simply activate it, and the app does the rest.
- Milestones: Available when the smartphone is undocked. Rewards its users with virtual "milestone stickers" for the Beetle when certain tasks have been completed.