Friday, August 31, 2007

The iCar: A Relationship Between Apple and VW?

Until today, this writer had never heard of the iCar, so one can only look upon forward thinkers like Chris O'Riley, who, in 1999, launched a "Drive Different" iCar spoof web page, with admiration and envy.

Unfortunately, Mr. O'Riley may not be all that far from the mark. The "iCar" representation he created looks similar to the Smart Car, a European staple.

Imagine that: a laptop on wheels.

For now, there isn't much to say about the proposed iCar (now in "development," a euphemism for launching a trial balloon and hoping for all the oohs and aahs from gadget-crazy consumers), but this is what is known so far:

  • Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs and Volkswagen's chief Martin Winterkorn met several days ago in California and plan to meet for further discussions, according to Hans-Gerd Bode, a spokesman for VW. Read more in Volkswagen, Apple Consider "ICar"...

  • If the deal goes through, the two companies will add Apple technology, presumably the iPhone, iPod, iMac, and Apple TV, to Volkswagen compact cars.

So far, the pre-hype of this fusion between car and computer manufacturers has been less than spectacular, although the original announcement took place a few days ago.

The marriage of technology with transportation has already happened, of course, with such products as OnStar and GPS, and what new car or van doesn't already have flat screens, satellite radio, and map programs as options?

The iCar, however, seems destined for the problems that have plagued other Apple, products, most recently the iPhone.

Next post, this writer will offer some comparisons and contrasts that will show how Apple's current problems may spill over to the iCar.

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