Apple fans have been itching to see the tech giant flex the full muscle of its iOS operating system in an automotive infotainment system for years, which is why we turned all sorts of excited when we caught wind of the Volkswagen iBeetle. The machine is headed to the Shanghai Motor Show for a debut, and VW promised it would be one of the “first cars in the world to have a genuine integrative interface for the iPhone that was coordinated with Apple.” Listen closely, and you can hear the contented sigh of a million wallets opening.
Go ahead and close those up, kids.
In reality, the iBeetle offers little more than a dash-mounted dock and a special app that shows a few vehicle functions, which is about as far from an infotainment revolution as you’re likely to find. In fact, the setup is little more than a factory rehash of aftermarket items, and hardly worth a whole model debut at an international motor show. And that’s to say nothing of the fact that Apple relishes in changing the shape and form of its darling handheld at every generation. Volkswagen better be prepared to keep pace with appropriate docking mechanisms for the upcoming iPhone 5S, 6, 6S, et al.
This is the kind of kit we expect to see as a bullet point on an option sheet, but instead, VW has made this dock+app an entire model by including special “Disc” wheels and iPhone-matching color schemes. The iBeetle will land on dealer lots in the US in 2014, but you can probably make something similar yourself today with an aftermarket dock and an iTunes gift card’s worth of third-party apps. Scroll down for the full press blast.