‘iPod Out’ to connect the iPhone with in-car systems

Last week, Apple announced a forthcoming update to its iPhone software, OS 4, that will allow some iPhone models to run multiple applications simultaneously, at least in certain situations. That means drivers will finally be able to use an iPhone for turn-by-turn directions in a car without worrying that an incoming call could stop the navigation program.

In his demonstration on the Apple campus in Cupertino, Calif., Steve Jobs, Apple’s chief executive, made a passing reference to a feature for software developers, called iPod Out. While Apple already allows companies to develop iPhone-compatible accessories, like speakers and remote controls, the new feature appears to make it even easier to make devices like car stereo and navigation systems work more seamlessly with the iPhone.

For example, iPod Out could allow an in-dash entertainment system to mimic all the functions of an iPhone for music playback (without the usual incompatibilities). That way, a driver could use the controls on a steering wheel to switch between songs on a iPhone without requiring additional hardware or software.

When reached for comment about the rumors and what the company had planned, an Apple spokesman said (to NewYork Times), “We’re not getting into the details at this time” about the features of OS 4. The new software will not be officially released until the summer.

Whether all carmakers will be as anxious to offer such features remains to be seen. Conversely, in spite of consumers’ apparent adoration for the iPhone, it’s not clear that automakers will be any more sanguine about tying their in-dash systems to Apple phones that may be obsolete in a year or two.

Courtesy: NewYork Times.

Related: iPhone 4.0 OS may support in-car kit.

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