Apple, VW Partner on iBeetle With iPhone Integration

The iBeetle is one of the first cars in the world to have a genuine integrative interface for the iPhone that was coordinated with Apple.

Iconic German auto manufacturer Volkswagen and iconic U.S. technology giant Apple are teaming up to offer fans of both companies' products the best of two worlds—later this year, the iPhone will interface with Volkswagen's Beetle and Beetle convertible models through a specially developed app and a docking station.

The app, docking station and iBeetle made their world debut over the weekend at the 2013 Shanghai Auto Show, and the iBeetle is just the first model line from the Volkswagen Group in which the iPhone will become an integrated component. Volkswagen offers two different ways to acquire the interface between the iPhone and Beetle—as an app or as a standard feature of the iBeetle and iBeetle Convertible.

The iBeetle is one of the first cars in the world to have a genuine integrative interface for the iPhone that was coordinated with Apple. A company release also noted the colors and equipment features of the iBeetle are stylistically linked to the Cupertino, Calif.-based U.S. company, bringing its iconic smartphones into harmony with one of the world's most iconic automotive designs.

The newly designed docking station is located centrally on the dashboard of the Beetle, and the iPhone simply snaps in to integrate it with the car. Essentially, all iPhone functions can be used in the Beetle, and the iPhone can be used to navigate, make calls hands-free, listen to music and other functions. When the app is launched on an iPhone, it can either connect the phone to the Beetle through the docking station or wirelessly. Each option allows for different app functions to be accessed.

For example, the music service Spotify lets users stream media such as new songs, customized playlists or online radio stations into the Beetle. Those who wish to can also post their favorite music directly to friends. In addition, users in the Beetle can switch between Spotify and iTunes settings at any time.

In addition, the Expert app offers five functions that make the smartphone 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. The Trainer app 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 to social networks like Twitter and Facebook, such as which route is faster to the office.

Other apps include Reader, which lists the latest messages from social networks like Facebook, and reads iPhone messages aloud; Postcard, which sends the current location of the Beetle to friends as a digital postcard with a map motif; Photo, which sends photos taken inside the car to numerous social networks; and finally an app called Milestones. Available when the smartphone is undocked, Milestones rewards its users with virtual milestone stickers for the Beetle when certain tasks have been completed.

The iBeetle, which will be available in early 2014, will come with other customized features in addition to the standard iPhone interface. Inside, steering wheel accents and the dash pad are executed in Galvano Grey, while the iBeetle is also upgraded by a customized shift lever grip, black sport seats in Vienna leather and contrasting stitching, a company release noted.