Update: Apple has just launched the iPhone 5S, as was heavily rumoured. The Cupertino firm has also announced the budget version of the high-end handset, dubbed the iPhone 5C. We're just waiting on further information regarding specifications and a release date. Developing...
Apple’s next iPhone (for the sake of simplicity, we’re calling it the iPhone 6) is perhaps the most talked about gadget on the planet right now. And, if a recent spate of rumours are to be believed, it will promise greater car integration than any other mobile device on the market.
Sources claim Apple is set to unveil its new handset at an event in San Francisco on 10th September, along with a refreshed operating system (iOS 7) that will make it one of the most car-friendly smartphones around. These rumours intesified last week when Apple sent out an email invite to selected journalists, inviting them to an event on, yup, you guessed it, 10th September.
Apple already unveiled iOS 7 at its 24th annual World Wide Developer’s Conference (WWDC) in June, during which they claimed compatibility with “95 per cent” of US cars. It’s currently in beta testing, but will be available to download later this year.
iOS 7 will give the iPhone 6 a whole host of technical smarts, including the ability to switch between radio stations and enter an address into a sat-nav simply by asking Siri – Apple’s virtual assistant software - to do so.
Note: this article is concerned with how the iPhone 6 will work for drivers. For a full rumoured design and specifications list, check out our sister site Expert Reviews’ iPhone 6 news and rumours article.
iPhone 6 release date & price
After months of speculation, Apple has finally sent out the invites to what many believe will be its annual iPhone unveiling - pictured above - simply saying; "This should brighten up everyone's day". At first glance, it appears as though the invite doesn't give much away, however, it cunningly confirms current rumours of a budget and colourful handset, dubbed the iPhone 5C.
As mentioned above, we decided on referring to the next iPhone as the iPhone 6 simply through basic numerical guesswork, however, some believe Apple will release two new smartphones in September, none of which will launch under the iPhone 6 moniker.
They are the iPhone 5S, which will be the firm’s high-end flagship model and the follow-up to the current-generation iPhone 5, and the iPhone 5C, which some claim will be a budget handset made entirely of plastic – a first for the firm.
Reports claim Apple decided on launching a budget smartphone as a result of mounting competition from Google, whose popular Nexus 4 handset and Nexus 10 tablet, cost just £239.00 and £319.00, respectively.
Despite their somewhat modest price tags, both devices boast high-end specifications and run on Google's Android Jelly Bean operating system, which allows for speedy web browsing and downloading apps from Google's Play Store - the Android equivalent of Apple's App Store.
In terms of a price point, we're expecting the phone to cost the same as the current-generation iPhone, which is about £529.00 for the 32GB version.
iPhone 6 adjustment tech
The iPhone 6 could feature technology that will allow drivers to control various components in their cars, such as their seats and wing mirrors, according to our sister site KnowYourMobile.
The rumours are a result of a patent filed by Apple to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, which reveals the key features the firm hopes to integrate into its mobile devices.
This includes the ability to adjust mirrors and seating positions either through tapping your smartphone screen or through voice command.
Another nifty feature; the software will remember your seating preferences and feed them to other vehicles (ideal for those lucky enough to own more than one motor).
The patent says: “A user's portable electronic device can learn configuration preferences from a first environment, such as the user's car, and when the user visits another similar environment, such as a rented automobile, those configuration preferences can be imported into the visited environment and used to automatically configure the environment according to the imported preferences.”
iOS 7 in the Car
Apple already treated us to a glimpse of its iOS 7 in the Car software at WWDC a couple months back. The application will allow drivers to control a number of features on their iPhones, such as music and phone calls, through voice command. It can even read messages out loud and reply using voice recognition.
A user would simply have to ask Siri to 'call mum' or 'pause playback' and Siri will do as commanded. It's a great system although not necessarily unique as most infotainment systems can do this already.
Here is how Apple describes it: "iOS in the Car seamlessly integrates your iOS device — and the iOS experience — with your in-dash system. If your vehicle is equipped with iOS in the Car, you can connect your iPhone 5 and interact with it using the car’s built-in display and controls or Siri Eyes Free. Now you can easily and safely make phone calls, access your music, send and receive messages, get directions, and more. It’s all designed to let iPhone focus on what you need, so you can focus on the road."
Honda, Nissan and Mercedes are among the handful of firms who’ve already signed up to the software, while BMW is working separately to integrate Apple products into its own software, ConnectedDrive. Meanwhile, Skoda, Audi and Ford will continue using their own infotaintment software - the latter has already drummed up something similar with Microsoft, dubbed FordSync.
Manufacturers are likely to integrate the technology to their 2014 models.
Best Cars for iOS 7 connectivity
We can’t wait to see what new technology the new iPhone 6 will offer, but current versions of Apple’s smartphone already offer plenty of in-car features when paired with the right model. And these are the top five cars to link to your iPhone:
BMW 5 Series facelift with ConnectedDrive
The BMW 5 Series won Best Executive Car at the 2013 Auto Express awards. But not only is it a class-leading saloon, it also offers a range of useful mobile features through its My BMW ConnectedDrive app. Trouble finding your car? You can tell the car to flash the lights or honk the horn via your iPhone. You can also unlock the doors, send addresses to the car’s navigation system and even programme the climate control to come on at a set temperature and time, to ensure your car is pre-heated or pre-cooled.
Ford Fiesta with SYNC
The cutting edge technology in the Ford Fiesta was a major factor behind it being crowned Best Supermini 2013 at the Auto Express awards. Ford SYNC lets drivers make use of their iPhones without taking their eyes from the road. The system allows you to make and receive phone calls using voice commands, and it will read your text messages aloud and allow you to reply using pre-selected voice commands.
Mercedes A-Class Drive Kit Plus
The new Mercedes A-Class is one of the most stylish cars on the road. And when it’s teamed-up with an iPhone equipped with Merc’s Drive Kit Plus app, it’s also one of the best connected. You can use your phone’s features via the car’s screen and armrest-mounted controller, allowing you to call, text, Tweet and post on Facebook safely and conveniently.
MINI with MINI Connected
The MINI may be all retro design on the outside, but it’s all cutting-edge technology on the inside, thanks to MINI Connected. It’ll allow you to make hands-free calls to your contact list via the car’s interface, as well as listen to playlists. But it will also piggyback on the iPhone’s internet connection to use internet radio or social networking apps.
Vauxhall Adam with Siri Eyes Free
The trendy little Vauxhall Adam isn’t all style over substance – it’s very practical, too, when hooked up to an iPhone. You can activate Siri through a button mounted on the steering wheel and use it to take advantage of a range of hands-free features. The voice-recognition software will let you make calls, tell the car to read out – and compose replies to – text messages, play songs, set up calendar meetings, set reminders, compose e-mails, check the weather, look up addresses and a whole host of other things.