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Apple hiring automotive integration engineers in China?

updated 12:05 am EST, Fri March 2, 2012

May be taking direct hand in future accessories

A job notice on LinkedIn spotted by China Car Times now has the industry abuzz with speculation that Apple may be preparing to enter the iOS-automobile integration market, long an area where the company has enjoyed third-party success due to consumer demand. Third-party accessories for aftermarket integration along with the willingness of car companies to engineer custom solutions may have spurred Apple to consider direct involvement.

The listing shows the company seeking "Supplier Quality Engineer" with experience in die casting, stamping, plastic injection and other technologies involved in making custom components for car dashboards. While it is possible that Apple simply wants to hire some staff to better test and integrate its products into automobiles, the emergence of Siri suggests that the company may be interested in developing its own proprietary solution that would more fully integrate iOS technologies into future automobiles. It may even wish to team up with one or more car companies to integrate its technologies on a level that would give partners a competitive edge.

While Microsoft has been involved with car manufacturers for years, it has met with limited success in integrating its technology into the driver experience on the level that Apple has. Like with its corporate success, the company did very little to foster iPod integration in cars early on, but has become more interested as more and more manufacturers see offering iOS device integration as a premium feature that attracts consumers.

Apple has actively held talks directly with Volkswagen in the past about iPod integration, but has seen car makers taking the lead in iOS and other smartphone or tablet support, though iOS-specific integration continues to be popular, particularly in "luxury"" model cars. Mercedes-Benz recently announced a collaboration with Apple devices that is thought to be the first to integrate Siri functionality, and which could be serving as a template for a direct Apple solution. [via Left Lane News]

by MacNN Staff



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