Your iPhone could eventually control your car's climate and seats

The feature would go well beyond CarPlay.

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Jon Fingas
October 7, 2021 9:37 AM
Apple's Senior Vice President of Software Engineering Craig Federighi speaks about CarPlay on stage during Apple's World Wide Developers Conference in San Jose, California on June 05, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Josh Edelson        (Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images)
JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty Images

Your iPhone could soon be useful for more in a car than answering calls and spicing up the music selection. Bloomberg sources claim Apple is developing a technology codenamed "IronHeart" that would let you use your iPhone to control the climate system, radio, seats and even the instrument clusters. You wouldn't have to switch between CarPlay and your car's (likely clunky) infotainment software just to turn up the heat.

IronHeart is still early in development, according to the tipsters, and would require partnerships with car brands. Apple has declined to comment.

An initiative like this could extend Apple's presence in cars far beyond limited technologies like CarPlay or its more recent CarKey feature. While it's not necessarily part of the company's long-rumored electric car strategy, it could give the company experience with more aspects of cars and help with any in-house vehicle development.

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Whether or not automakers embrace the concept is another matter. Apple would effectively bypass a car's native interface for many common tasks. It's easy to see manufacturers balking after pouring extensive work into their own car interfaces and companion apps, particularly if they have any services that compete with Apple offerings. If IronHeart ships, it may be limited to a handful of makes and models unless there's an enthusiastic response from car buyers.

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