The buzz surrounding Siri's supposed car version is there. So, too, are the masses of Apple-heads who will jump at the chance to buy just about anything that the Cupertino, Calif.-based tech giant puts out. The question remains however: Just when will Siri Eyes Free be a reality?
Toyota, GM, Honda and several other manufacturers claim that Siri capabilities will be up and running in some of their models within 2013 [sources: Strange, Albanesius]. Others, however, are not so sure.
"There is a little conversation going on among automakers, the Department of Transportation, and the general public about distracted driving," CNET Senior Editor Wayne Cunningham recently wrote in a piece warning Apple fans not to hold their breath for Siri's in-car arrival. "If an automaker were to open up all the capabilities of an iPhone, social networking, texting, what have you, through Siri, those same automakers would likely be included in lawsuits brought by victims in distracted driving accidents," he continued.
With accidents caused by distracted driving leading to approximately 1,200 injuries per day, motorists, auto industry executives and public safety officials would likely welcome any technology aimed at keeping drivers' eyes on the road. Yet because phone use is one of the major symptoms associated with distraction behind the wheel, increasing the ease with which a driver can access the Internet, e-mail and social networking sites may simply worsen the problem [sources: CDC, Joseph].
Apple and automakers are still tinkering with ideas about how Siri's capabilities may be limited for drivers in order to let them get information and perform basic tasks without losing focus on their chief responsibility: getting from point A to point B safe and sound. To help drivers resist the urge to look down at the phone while communicating with Siri, the Eyes Free technology will prevent the phone screen from illuminating while the car is in motion or displaying a Web page when answering a question [sources: Yvkoff, Albanesius].
If you're putting off that cross-country road trip until Siri's ready to tag along, gear up by checking out the links on the next page.