Apple CEO, Tim Cook’s saying nothing about the Apple Car but reckons the Apple Watch is going to be your car keys – but you’ll be able to do a lot more thanks to Automatic, one of the first vehicle-related apps to make it to the device.
Automatic for the people
I’ve written about Automatic before, mainly because I think it’s got to be one of the most interesting after market solutions you can get for your vehicle. It takes a lot of grief (and potential grief) from vehicle ownership. It consists of a $99 device fitted to your vehicle and apps for your smartphones -- soon -- your Apple Watch.
By pairing Automatic’s smartphone app and in-car device, drivers get to use a range of applications that do useful things like figuring out engine trouble or bad driving habits. It does more than this, including detecting accidents and sending requests for help if you happen to have one.
Automatic is bringing some of these features to the Apple Watch, Automatic co-founder, Ljuba Miljkovic told me:
“Because Automatic on the Apple Watch is an extension of the iPhone app, it’s technically able to present any alert the Automatic adapter can read from the car’s onboard computer. For now, we’ve focused on more frequent uses-cases like quickly seeing where you parked your car and easily tagging trips for business reimbursement.”
One of the most useful features of Automatic is its ability to read data gathered by the processors inside modern vehicles, information you once needed expensive systems to access is now available to you through your phone.
Can you get it on an Apple Watch?
Not yet, admitted Miljkovic, but this could change: “In the future, we may extend the functionality to include check engine light, battery, and low fuel warnings,” he said.
Right now, Automatic integrates with the Apple Watch by enabling you to find your parked car and helping you with your expense accounts. After Automatic detects the end of a driving trip, you can tag the journey “for business” so that it can be easily expensed at work. The distance, time, locations, and route are all automatically recorded in the process.
In future the Watch may let you access nearly all the features of Automatic’s growing system. This is only a glimpse of how telematics will change the way you drive, but the age of connected vehicles is now, as new laws demanding all new cars be connected are being introduced in Europe, the US, Russia and beyond.
“We’re thrilled crash detection and emergency response is becoming a standard feature of new cars in Europe starting later this year,” says Miljkovic.
“Everyone should be protected in a crash. Unfortunately, hundreds of millions of cars already on the road don’t have this feature, which is why we built it into Automatic.”
One more thing
Apple has made its Apple Watch app a permanent resident on iPhones with iOS 8.2, just like iBooks, Memos, Tips and a few others.
I put all my Apple bloatware inside a folder. Sure, I can't get rid of it (even though these apps take up valuable space) but out of sight is almost out of mind.
- To create a folder of your own, just tap and hold the Apple Watch app icon until all the apps begin to shake.
- Select the app and drag and drop it onto another Apple app you don’t use.
- A folder will be created, give it a name (I use “Apple Bloatware”).
- Add all the Apple apps you seldom use to this folder
- Tap the Home button and the apps should stop shaking, job done.
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