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Apple won't let Ford in its circle of trust until 2011, when it will grant Ford a special chip to put in its vehicles to let them talk to the iPhone.   (Source: Universal Studios/Dreamworks)

Those who don't want to wait for a year can simply buy a phone from market leaders Google (Android) or RIM (BlackBerry).  (Source: HTC)
Fortunately market leaders Google and RIM are much more open

We knew that Apple was really into a closed box approach when it came to the iPhone, but we didn't realize it was this closed.  At a Ford Fiesta press event, Ford engineers confirmed that the upcoming MyFord Touch -- the latest version of SYNC won't interface with the iPhone for a full year.

Apparently Research in Motion (makers of the Blackberry) and Google (makers of the Android OS) both embraced Ford's recently announced AppLink initiative, which allows smartphone apps to link to the car and be controlled by the same controls as the primary SYNC platform.

Working with engineers at RIM and Google, Ford has developed to separate APIs, which app developers can use to quickly get their apps working with MyTouch.  Ford engineers tell us that Pandora, the popular internet radio service, got their app fully Ford-ready in only 3 days on the Android platform.

So what about the iPhone, the third-place player in the U.S. market?  Well, support for the iPhone won't come for a full year more (till the 2012 model year).  When pressed for more info, Ford's engineers revealed to us that this was because Apple was requiring it to install special computer chips in-vehicle to let the MyTouch system know that it was dealing with "trusted apps".

Despite having fully working demos, Apple won't let Ford into its circle of trust until the vehicles get the special authentication chips.  

In our analysis piece on why the iPhone recently fell behind Android (unless  you follow Apple's logic and count the iPod Touch as a phone), we discussed that one key problem for Apple is its lack of openness when it comes to apps. 

It's disappointing that while Android and BlackBerry owners will get to be enjoying internet radio and more in their SYNC and MyFord Touch vehicles, Apple is leaving its customers in the dark for some time.  When it comes to AppLink there's not an app for that on the iPhone and there won't be one for some time, thanks to Apple's circle of trust.





"This is about the Internet.  Everything on the Internet is encrypted. This is not a BlackBerry-only issue. If they can't deal with the Internet, they should shut it off." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis






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