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September 2015

This device rules my life. More than any person, it’s the boss of me.

It wakes me up (with the sound of a revving engine), chimes once a year the day before my wedding anniversary, reminds me of appointments and keeps me connected to the world … including, more and more so these days, via the car I’m driving.

One of the first things I do when I slide into the seat of any new vehicle that comes through our test garage is to sync my iPhone. Most of the time, I do it merely to make calls via Bluetooth or to stream music.

But such simple usage will soon be a thing of the past. A new generation of cars takes phone connectivity a massive step further. These vehicles can host or mimic the applica- tions on a phone and, with apps such as ConnectedDrive Remote that BMW offers for its i3, you’ll have external access to your car’s operating system.

(As an aside, US hackers recently used a smartphone to take control of a Jeep Cherokee – which is rather discon- certing given that I have a long-term test car just like it – but we won’t go down that road here.)

Instead, have a read through technical editor Nicol Louw’s feature on cars and their link to smartphone apps on page 120. It raises a fascinating question: will your phone choose your next car? The concept sounds crazy, yes, but judging by the rate at which I’m becoming increasingly reliant on this rectangular piece of glass-and-alloy-encased circuitry, it’s a valid question.

Take the following scenario: two cars compete in the same segment. Both are evenly matched in terms of perfor- mance, specification and price, yet Car X doesn’t support my iPhone’s iOS operating system as well as Car Y does, and only half of my apps work properly on the latter. Car Y’s smartphone integration could well be the clincher.
It’s early days, sure, but considering the exponential rate at which communication tech develops, this scenario might be a lot closer than you think.

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CAR magazine