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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Will The Apple Watch Be A Distraction While Driving? [Opinion]

Apple announced its first true wearable device this past week and showed off just a few of its features. We know that the watch will require an iPhone to work. However, many details were left out, some perhaps on purpose (battery life).

After the keynote, a lot of "guesses" on what the Apple Watch could help you do have started floating around. If your wristwatch, that has traditionally just shown time, is capable of much more, is it bound to be a distraction? Especially, while driving?

And how will lawmakers respond to this possibility? Will smartwatches trigger new laws against their use while driving?

During the keynote, Apple showed the upcoming BMW i app and showed how the app could tell you where your electric car is parked or even the amount of battery charge left. There are a couple of other things the BMW i app will help you do which you can read here.

But that was the only car-related information we got from the keynote. Those of us interested in car technology were left wondering, what about CarPlay? Will the Apple Watch have any CarPlay functionality like music controls or triggering Siri?

Apple has to be concerned about safety, and fiddling with your Apple Watch while driving doesn't sound smart at all. Fiddling with your CarPlay-capable dashboard on the other hand... now that's a type of distraction that is completely legal (for now at least). Granted, CarPlay has been designed to be used safely with Siri taking commands for most functions.

Whether Apple Watch will be able to control your CarPlay-capable dashboard in any way remains to be seen. If Apple uses Bluetooth 4.0 to connect these devices to your iPhone, the Watch should be able to control at least some functions in your dashboard. After all, even the Pebble watch managed to control a Pioneer AppRadio 2 once.

Apple could disable the Apple Watch when your iPhone is in CarPlay mode if they feel it could be a distraction while driving. Currently, even Siri loses some functionality (like launching apps) for safety reasons when the iPhone is connected to a car head unit like an AppRadio.

Apple Watch will not be released until early 2015. The next few months should be an interesting time for Apple as they try to figure out exactly what they will allow the device to do, especially while driving.

Images: Apple & Pioneer Electronics

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