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Finally - Apple makes its move into car stereos

Car stereos have been frustrating me for a long time. The old-guard makers have made a few inroads to accommodating the digital lifestyle - iPod and USB plugs, and Bluetooth compatibility for your smartphone - but let's face it: They aren't made with the friendly user interfaces we're used to outside of our cars.

Finally, Apple has gotten into the act - and that means other smartphone makers will start doing it as well.

The company's new endeavor is called "CarPlay." It's an in-deck screen that, as you might imagine, interacts seamlessly with your iPhone. That means it allows you to use Siri for voice-activated control.

The bad news: For right now, this is a high-end product - it will be available in new Ferrari, Mercedes and Volvo models after its introduction at the Geneva Motor Show in Switzerland. But Apple says it will be available soon from Detroit, Toyota and Honda, and other makers.

My only concern is this: Those old-fashioned slots for your car stereo had the advantage of being a standard interface; that meant anyone could develop a car stereo that fit, giving us consumers a lot of choice (and lower prices). I don't want to lose that consumer benefit.

The ideal scenario for us would be that new cars will all start coming with a standardized dashboard that we can each use with the smartphone of our choice. I'll keep you posted.

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