Word got out this weekend that Adrian Perica, Apple’s head of mergers and acquisitions, has been meeting with electric automaker Tesla.
Today, Tesla CEO Elon Musk confirmed the talks, but said that Apple buying the company is “unlikely.”
As Business Insider’s Nicholas Carlson pointed out, corporate development execs like Perica often meet with senior executives at other companies to discuss opportunities for partnership or joint investment.
Among the potential opportunities for cooperation between Apple and Tesla, there’s one product that immediately stands out as a possibility: iOS in the Car.
Announced at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference last year, iOS in the Car is a new feature built into Apple’s mobile operating system that lets iPhone users run iOS on top of their car’s built-in software and hardware.
While many cars let you play music from your phone using controls on the steering wheel, iOS in the Car takes the integration much further, bringing the distinct look of iOS 7 and the convenience of Siri to vehicles from over a dozen manufacturers.
It wasn't the first time they talked about getting into cars. A year earlier, they announced that Apple and a number of automakers were bringing 'Eyes Free' controls to cars by letting iOS users access Siri directly from their car's interface.
iOS in the Car takes that idea even further: during its 2013 keynote, it showed a mock-up of a car's interface being completely replaced with the now-familiar iOS 7.
iOS in the Car will also know to give turn-by-turn directions to any address you receive via email or text, which makes last-second coordination much easier to deal with.
You won't need to grab your phone to tell someone you can't text them because you're driving -- just respond with your voice and Siri will send the text for you.
Like Google Now, your phone will start to figure out when you're leaving for work and check traffic ahead of time.
Apple is partnering with over a dozen car companies for iOS in the Car and says it plans to begin rolling it out sometime in 2014. Expect to see it in higher-end models first -- most entry-level options don't have fancy touch interfaces by default yet.
Here's a video showing what iOS in the Car looks like in a recent beta version of iOS 7.1. iOS in the Car is expected to debut when iOS 7.1 lands sometime in the next few months.
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