The Ford Mustang is an iconic car—though mainly for its sexy fastback style and muscle car speed, not its built-in tech. But it's also one of the more techy vehicles in Ford's lineup.
At CES 2014, Ford announced Tuesday that its 2015 Mustang will be the first vehicle to feature the latest generation of the company's Sync AppLink technology for seamlessly connecting to, and interacting with, your smartphone while driving.
Sync AppLink currently lets you control certain smartphone apps using your car's voice recognition technology. You can open and navigate apps such as Aha Radio, Rhapsody, Glympse, and USA Today without ever picking up your phone. Although AppLink, in its current form, isn't 100 percent seamless, it's useful for busy drivers who want to use apps without taking their eyes off the road.
According to Ford vice president of global product development Raj Nair, the company has tweaked AppLink to make the experience simpler and more intuitive. The changes are minor, but even minor changes can make a big difference when you're in traffic. You'll now be able to launch AppLink-enabled apps by tapping the Sync button and saying the name of the app (instead of saying "mobile applications" first). It will also read notifications aloud as they come in—without you having to touch the phone.
On the developer side, apps will also be able to tap into real-time vehicle data—such as speed, acceleration, and location—to create a more customized experience. Ford says that location-based apps will be able to more precisely track your location if given access to the vehicle's GPS; I say we'll see an explosion of apps that make use of speed and acceleration data (and not just for fun—think teenage driving apps or speed trap trackers).
Speaking of which, Ford also announced four new apps for its Sync system: two parking apps (Parkopedia and Parkmobile), a home-security app (ADT), and an app from Domino's, so you can order pizza on your way home from work.
Enhanced AppLink isn't the only tech we'll see on the new Mustang. We can also look forward to new track apps, the latest safety tech and sensors seen on other Ford vehicles, and a 4-inch (or larger) touchscreen.
Notably missing is Ford's Active Parking Assist, which is a semi-autonomous parking feature that helps drivers parallel park. Ford marketing manager Steve Ling said that the company thought about putting APA on the Mustang, but ultimately decided against it because "people who buy Mustangs are usually people who enjoy driving, and who know how to park."
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