June has arrived and with it the first month of summer. Vacation plans are beginning to see fruition as many American’s drive away from their regular lives and into a road of adventure and fun. Among the many items in the news this month are several stories that will be exciting for drivers; including Sirius XM acquisition of Pandora, Apple’s improved operating system for their iPhones, and a new advance in electric car batteries.
Here is what is happening this month:
iPhone owners rejoice! Apple introduces iOS11, the latest version of the iPhone operating system. Why care? Both stickers and iMessage apps are now more accessable through a shortcut drawer. Conversations will now automatically synchronize with iCloud. More importantly, Siri is getting big changes. Voice sounds will be more natural with improved inflections. Siri can now respond to requests for translations — including Chinese, French, German, Italian and English. Siri will also get smarter by being better able to understand context in questions. These are just some of the many improvements offered via iOS11. Apple is promising to have iOS11 ready for next September.
Pandora and Sirius XM are joining forces! Sirius XM, the satellite radio provider for car drivers, has just invested $480 million in Pandora stock, giving it a 19% stake in the online streaming service. This investment will allow Sirius XM to have a foot in the door of the blossoming online streaming market and insurance against the changing technology in car entertainment systems. At the same time, Pandora has an infusion of capital to fuel its new initiative to create a premium, paid service to rival both Spotify and Apple.
Electric car owners may soon be able to charge their battery as soon as it would take to fill a gas tank in a regular car! Researchers at Purdue University have developed a new innovation for batteries used in electric cars. This new technology would not require a recharge station, which is what is standard for current electric cars; instead, owners would replace the battery’s fluid electrolytes. The technology is still in development but is increasingly reaching implementation.
Drunk driving penalties have now included app downloads as an Ohio Judge has begun ordering convicted drivers to download Uber and Lyft phone apps. The trend towards apps for drunk drivers is increasing as there are already apps that help drivers determine whether they can safely drive after having a drink. Additionally, some automakers have begun developing anti-drunk driving tech in new vehicles.
In line with driver safety, Apple’s new phone operating system iOS11 will offer a feature that provides a “Do Not Disturb” mode while the owner is driving. After the feature engages, an owner’s iPhone will block all incoming notifications until the owner leaves their vehicle. Distracted driving has become increasingly a major source of driver-related deaths and a serious concern for many Americans. California has banned the use of phones during driving, aside for some small exceptions. Apple’s new feature is an innovation that GROM Audio and many other like-minded developers have worked on for the last several years.