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Not Quite iCar, But Closest Yet: iBeetle World Premiere At 2013 Shanghai Auto Show

Two iconic products will be forming an alliance later this year: the iPhone from Apple and the Beetle from Volkswagen. From that point on, the smartphone will interface to vehicle functions of the Beetle and Beetle Cabriolet via a specially developed app (Volkswagen Car Net The Beetle) and a docking station. This makes it the first model series of the Volkswagen Group in which the iPhone will become an integrative component.

Volkswagen offers two different ways to acquire the innovative interface between iPhone and Beetle. First, as an optional feature. Second, as a standard feature of the newly conceptualised iBeetle and iBeetle Cabriolet. The German carmaker will be launching these special models on the market in parallel with the iPhone 5 integration at the beginning of 2014. The app, docking station and iBeetle will celebrate their world premiere at the 2013 Shanghai Auto Show (20th to 29th of April). The related integration of the iPhone 4/4S in the Beetle and Beetle Cabriolet will already take place in early autumn 2013. And here is how the communicative alliance works.

The interface

Located centrally on the dashboard of the Beetle is the newly designed docking station (cradle), in which the iPhone is integrated by simply snapping it in similar to a mobile navigation system. And then the fun can begin. Essentially, all iPhone functions can be used in the Beetle; the iPhone can be used to navigate, telephone naturally via a hands-free unit, listen to music from the media library via the audio systems amplifier and loudspeakers, and much more.

The Beetle app

When the app is launched, it can either connect the iPhone to the Beetle (docked), or not (undocked) the driver or front passenger decides that. As soon as the iPhone connects to the data network of the Beetle via the app and the docking station (docked), it all begins. The app supplies a main menu with the following functions:

• Spotify
• Expert
• Trainer
• Reader
• Postcard
• Photo
• Post
• Milestones

Spotify lets users stream media such as new songs, customised playlists or online radio stations directly to the iPhone and from there into the sound system of the Beetle. Those who wish can post their favourite music directly to friends. In addition, users in the Beetle can switch between Spotify and iTunes at any time.

Under the Expert menu, the app offers five functions which make the iPhone an extended on-board instrument of the Beetle. Offered here are a G-Meter (for measuring transverse acceleration), oil and coolant temperature gauges for the engine, a chronometer and a compass.

The Trainer 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 via social networks like Twitter and Facebook such as which route leads quicker to the university or to a work destination.

The (social) Reader lists the latest messages from social networks like Facebook. There is also a practical function for having iPhone messages read aloud here.

Another communicative functionality is offered by Postcard. In response to a touchscreen command, the app sends the current location of the Beetle to friends as a digital postcard with a map motif. Sender identification: Sent with the Beetle App.

A photo can be taken from the interior of the Beetle by iPhone camera and sent to social networks with the Photo function. Simply activate it, and the app does the rest. Here too, the sender identification is: Sent with the Beetle App.

In the undocked mode, the Milestones menu is available. Here the app rewards its users with virtual milestone stickers for the Beetle when certain tasks have been completed. This is how the app playfully guides users through the range of possible applications.

The iBeetle

Volkswagen conceptualised the iBeetle for the debut of iPhone 5 integration it is one of the first cars in the world to have a genuine integrative interface for the iPhone that was coordinated with Apple. As mentioned, the special model will be available as a Coup and Cabriolet. The colours and equipment features of the iBeetle are stylistically linked to the Cupertino-based US company, bringing the icons of its smartphones into harmony with what is certainly one of the worlds most iconic automotive designs.

The iBeetle, which will be available at the beginning of 2014 (advance sales already begin in October 2013), will not just be delivered to its owners with the standard iPhone interface, but with other customised features as well. On the exterior, they include standard features such as 18-inch Disc alloy wheels (painted in Galvano Grey with chrome wheel covers), door mirror housings and side trim panels (above the sill) in Galvano Grey, black door sill plates with iBeetle signature, iBeetle chrome badges (front wing in area of the A-pillars) and a Chrome pack (includes chrome trim strips on the sides). Fitting for the well-structured products from Cupertino, the new iBeetle can be ordered in the colours Candy White, Oryx White Mother of Pearl Effect, Black Monochrome, Deep Black Pearl Effect, Platinum Grey or Reflex Silver.

In the interior, the steering wheel accents are executed in Galvano Grey. This colour is also used for the horizontal instrument pad (the dash pad that typifies the Beetle). The iBeetle is also upgraded by a customised gear shift grip, black sport seats in exclusive Vienna leather and contrasting seams in light Ceramique. The iBeetle and the iPhone an ideal combination.

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