“Can the iPhone help automakers sell cars? Or will cars help Apple sell more gadgets?” Doron Levin reports for Fortune.

“Perhaps both,” Levin reports. “Apple recently said it is working with a number of automakers, including General Motors, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan and Hyundai to integrate its new iOS 7 operating system into cars. The product is called, not shockingly, ‘iOS in the Car.’ The car’s screen might look like an iPhone’s, allowing Siri voice commands control navigation, entertainment choices, phone and functions such as heating and air conditioning.”

Levin reports, “Digital features have become a more important consideration – crucial for some – when choosing a car to buy. What’s unclear is whether broader digital and wireless capability in cars will add to driver distraction or, conversely, increase safety by letting drivers keep their eyes on the road while letting Siri read them texts and email. In any event, it’s a sure thing that iPhone’s most avid fans will be attracted to car models that emulate Apple’s digital feel and experience. With some 600 million Apple devices in customer hands, automakers have a huge audience with which to connect. ‘The advantage of a common interface is self-evident,’ said one auto executive, who asked not to be identified because of industry competition. ‘You only have to learn one format for your car and smartphone, rather than two.'”

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