In the realm of iPhone accessories, it's hard to improve much upon the basics of a docking station; once you have a power source and some speakers, what else do you need? Here's one answer: add four seats, an engine and wheels. The Volkswagen iBeetle isn't a car so much as the world's most expensive phone charger.
Introduced at the Shanghai motor show today, the VW iBeetle will go on sale with that name in parts of the world; VW hasn't decided whether to adulterate its most well-known brand in the United States yet. Mechanically identical to other Beetle coupes and convertibles, VW claims the iBeetle was styled with Apple's cooperation, "bringing its iconic smartphones into harmony with what is certainly one of the world’s most iconic automotive designs."
The key to the iBeetle lies in the docking station built into the dash and a custom app that includes a Spotify-powered music stream, additional gauges for the Beetle's operation, and a "trainer" function that tracks driving times and fuel economy. It also not only can take pictures from inside the car and share everything on social networks, but read tweets and Facebook posts to drivers who worry about distractions but still want to own a car designed around a smartphone.
This may well be a glimpse of the future of automobiles, and VW's showing some verve in pursuing younger buyers on their own terms. Then again, AMC designers may have though the same thing when they approved the Levi's edition Gremlin.