iCar? Volkswagen's iBeetle Has Deep iPhone Integration

(Image Credit: Volkswagen)

There have been rumors and dreams for year of an iCar - a car made by Apple. Volkswagen's iBeetle isn't the iCar, but it might be the closest thing we're going to get.

Apple and Volkswagen have teamed up to bring special iPhone connectivity to the iBeetle. (Yes, that's really the name of the car.) Announced today at the Shanghai Auto Show, the car has a unique docking station for the iPhone on the dashboard. The phone snaps in and then integrates with the car's navigation and audio systems. It can power the GPS dash and the car's stereo. The phone can also connect with the car wirelessly.

But how is this any different from pairing your phone with your car via Bluetooth? There's a special Volkswagen app that allows the iPhone to integrate with other services in the car.

The Expert area of the app lets you view information about the car, including oil and coolant temperatures and a compass. The Trainer section allows you to compare driving times and distances.

And then there are some more fun - albeit distracting - features. Reader lists messages from Facebook and reads them out loud and Photo sends photos taken in the car to friends.

The app includes Spotify and iTunes integration so drivers can listen to their friends' favorite music. You can obviously make calls with the phone, too. It integrates with the car's audio system and microphone.

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And that's about it. No, no self-driving capabilities here. And no, the app doesn't help the car park itself.

The functionality will be available in both the iBeetle and iBeetle convertible, which are set to be on lots at the beginning of next year.

Volkswagen also says the car has been designed to match Apple's smartphones. It will be available in different shades of gray, white and black. For those who plan to start saving for the iCar, there's no word on pricing yet.