A lifetime ago, in June of 2012, Apple announced something of real interest for tech fans: "Eyes Free", which brought the Siri digital assistant to automobiles via a special button on steering wheels.
Eyes Free has been slowly rolling out to vehicles from a wide range of automakers. In February, it came to Chevrolet, courtesy of the 2013 Sonic and Spark. And now, according to General Motors, it'll appear on 2014 models of the Chevrolet Camaro, Cruze, Equinox, Malibu, SS, and Volt.
As with the Sonic and Spark, only Chevy vehicles equipped with MyLink will be able to make use of Siri Eyes Free. To get things rolling, drivers use Bluetooth to pair an iPhone running iOS 6 or iOS 7 with MyLink. Once that's done, they can tap an activation button on the steering wheel to access Siri's voice commands. In full Eyes Free mode, the iPhone screen is prevented from lighting up, minimizing distractions for drivers.
Once Siri is up and running, she (or, with iOS 7, he) can handle a number of features, including:
- Making calls
- Accessing and playing audio files stored on the iPhone
- Switching from AM to FM to XM to iPod mode
- Reading incoming text messages
- Composing and sending text messages
- Reading calendar appointments and adding new ones
This is good news for iPhone users and great news for Apple. It represents the tech company's latest and perhaps biggest move in the battle to take over Planet Earth's automobiles.
Will Apple conquer the dashboard of the autonomous car from chief rival Google? We don't know, but we look forward to finding out.