The actual dashboard of a Tesla Model S. This is where we're going.

Apple and Google to Battle It Out for Your Dashboard in 2014

Here’s a sucker’s prediction: when the Consumer Electronics Show opens in Las Vegas on January 7, much, much floorspace will be given over to the connected car.  Our vehicles are slowly turned into rolling always-on apps, connected to the Internet and, inevitably other cars.  And the big thermonuclear war in this space will be between Google and Apple.

Both are engaged in a massive arms build up, hiring engineers, lining up suppliers and courting automobile manufacturers.  Google, for example, is expected to announce a partnership with Audi regarding the use of Android in their dashboards.  Audi is part of the Volkswagen group, so if this partnership works out, it will inevitably spread to other VW divisions like Porsche, Seat and Lamborghini.

Meanwhile, Apple has already patented a touchscreen for cars and already has deals of varying degrees with a least a dozen automakers including BMW, Mercedes, GM and Honda.

Meanwhile, Elon Musk and Tesla are doing their own thing.  The company just poached another Apple person to become their Senior Director of Manufacturing Technology.

Why I am I writing about this on a site that’s supposed to be about music?  Because I like cars, for one.  The other is that the car has been a major source of radio listening for more than 80 years. As someone who has been in the business for more than three decades, I’m concerned about the potential for marginalization of radio in the car.  Radio can survive this technological change, but the industry has to watch what’s going on very, very closely.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38040 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

2 thoughts on “Apple and Google to Battle It Out for Your Dashboard in 2014

  • I’m thinking one of the big questions will be compatibility. If I’m an iPhone user (which I am) does that mean I have to stick with BMW and not bother looking at Audi cars? Another thing is security. How open access is my dashboard to malware or other virus type programs? Last at least here in Canada is price. I’ve got 1 gig of data flowing into my iPhone a month which is a tolerable when I consider I’ve got wifi both at home and in the office and two subway stops, Starbucks, blah blah blah. How much is the always on service going to cost with iTunes Radio/Rdio/Pandora streaming in the background for my music and GPS directions? Hopefully at CES they’ll be able to answer a few pressing questions.


  • I’ve got mixed opinions too.

    On the one hand, when the Edge radio station plays yet another crappy song by {BandIHate} I can hopefully switch to a streaming service that lets me filter out songs I hate.

    On the other hand stations like the Edge have been pinnacle in getting fresh content and new talent into the spotlight. We likely would never have discovered the Bare Naked Ladies had it not been for the Edge/CFNY.

    However what scares me is how will these touch screen features be turned on/off? I can fumble blindly with the volume/station dial with my eyes still on the road… trying to navigate a touch interface without looking is darn near impossible and so I suspect distracted driving incidents to increase big time if the device isn’t “smart” enough to limit interaction while moving.


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