GM announces Siri coming on three new autos

GM announced today that three of its new models will come with a button on the steering wheel that will activate Siri in the same manner as holding down the home button on an iPhone. The cars' MyLink infotainment system will connect to the iPhone via Bluetooth. Drivers will be able to do things such as make voice-activated hands-free calls, play songs from their iTiunes library, send a text message, use their calendar, and ask simple questions, such as the latest sports scores. And for safety's sake, they'll be able to activate an eyes-free mode that keeps their iPhone screen off so they won't be tempted to look at it while driving. In addition, even if drivers don't activate eyes-free, Siri will be limited to answering simple questions or doing simple things that don't require the driver to look at the screen — thereby helping them to avoid the temptation to do so.

GM's Siri Eyes Free will be available on the Chevrolet Sonic subcompact, the Spark minicar, and the Spark EV electric car. Last summer when Scott Forestall announced iOS 6 at the Worldwide Developers Conference, he said that Siri would also be coming to BMW, Jaguar, Mercedes, and Honda. The Sonic and the Spark minicar are expected to be available early next year. The Spark EV electric car with Siri will be a 2014 model.

One interesting point is that GM's MyLink infotainment system no longer has a CD player. Instead it relies on integrating with the driver's smartphone. This shows clearly how music stored on, or streamed from, mobile devices is eclipsing the old media.

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Jim Karpen holds a Ph.D. in literature and writing, and has a love of gizmos. His doctoral dissertation focused on the revolutionary consequences of digital technologies and anticipated some of the developments taking place in the industry today. Jim has been writing about the Internet and technology since 1994 and has been using Apple's visionary products for decades.