The U.S. Patent Office granted Apple a patent for a steering wheel remote control that clips to the steering wheel, controlling the iPhone wirelessly.
PatentlyApple discovered the new in-vehicle Apple patent, originally filed under the names of the inventors instead of under the Apple corporate name, which is why it flew under the radar for so long.
The patent shows a small wireless remote control that mounts on the steering wheel for hands free control of the phone while driving. The control looks a lot like an iPod clickwheel with a ring on the back to attach to a steering wheel.
The iPhone already connects to many in vehicle infotainment systems like Ford Sync for steering wheel control, but on older cars and cars without this option, a remote like this could help users obey hands free laws without upgrading to a new stereos or a new car.
According to the patent, the steering wheel remote control is touch sensitive, which is a shame considering the benefit that tactile buttons add while trying to drive and control music.
PatentlyApple illustrates how this system could adapt to many steering wheels, including the rotating faceplate that keeps the controls oriented correctly and the ability to clasp to steering wheels thin and wide.
While Apple owns this patent, it may never bring this product to market. Apple routinely patents ideas that we don’t see for years, or ever.
Personally I hope that’s not the case. This Bluetooth steering wheel remote control for the iPhone would sell like hotcakes, especially if it has a microphone housed inside for Siri and phone calls.
Would you buy a iPhone steering wheel remote control?