No matter how much the powers that be want people to do nothing but drive while driving, that day isn’t going to come. Driving is a lifestyle that goes beyond which vehicle type suits our needs and the color it must be – it’s also about the mood and ambiance set for drivers and occupants while on the journey. Part of that means having radio, music and a connection to life outside the vehicle. Ford has aimed to make the driving experience both enjoyable and safe. One way is through SYNC® technology, which allows you to use simple voice commands to control features of your radio and your phone, so your hands stay on the wheel and you don’t have to look away from the road.
And it’s already moving to the next level: SYNC AppLink™ is a program that will allow you to use your favorite apps through voice commands and buttons on your steering wheel, including Pandora® Internet radio. Ford has made AppLink available as a downloadable software update for the SYNC-equipped 2011 Fiesta, and it comes factory-installed in the 2012 Fiesta, Fusion and Mustang as well as the Lincoln MKZ. For those of you with a 2012 Expedition, Super Duty and Navigator, it’s coming soon; owners of the 2012 F-150 should expect its availability this fall. Supported phones include Android 2.1+, iPhone 3GS with OS 4.1, iPhone 4 with iOS 4.2 and BlackBerry® with the latest available Blackberry OS.
Other mobile apps AppLink brings to SYNC include Stitcher SmartRadio™ and Orangatame OpenBeak.
Here’s how it works in the case of Pandora: Rather than streaming through Bluetooth or having to plug your phone into an auxiliary jack, you push the voice button and ask for “mobile apps,” then say “Pandora.” Speak the name of one of your favorite songs, artists or genres and the radio service will scan its analyzed music to find songs that reflect your taste. Don’t worry, you can still give a song a thumbs-up or thumbs-down, but now it’s verbal.
For Stitcher, you can create an “audio magazine” of your favorite podcasts and radio shows on demand. There are more than 5,000 offerings ranging from news and comedy to sports and talk, from sources such as NPR, CNN and Adam Carolla. Voice commands will instantly play your faves, and you can “stitch” together a customized playlist for seamless listening; ultimately it will become automatic and fresh episodes will be added as they become available.