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Nine auto makers partner with Apple for 'Eyes Free' Siri support

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The launch of iOS 6 will bring greater automobile integration to the iPhone with "Eyes Free," a new feature that will allow a car to bring up Siri voice control.

The Eyes Free component of iOS 6 was unveiled by Scott Forstall, Apple's senior vice president of iOS Software, at Monday's Worldwide Developers Conference keynote.

"You've heard of hands free before," Forstall said. "Hands free allows you to keep your ands on the steering wheel while you use your phone.

"Well, we want to integrate Siri even better with the car. And so we're working with a number of car manufacturers to enable you to use a button right on the steering wheel to bring up Siri."

With Hands Free, the iPhone screen stays off, so it will not distract the driver. Since Siri talks back to a user out loud, drivers can control many functions on their iPhone with just the press of a button and the use of their voice, allowing them to keep their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road.

Forstall revealed that a number of manufacturers have committed to Eyes Free Siri integration in the next 12 months. The full list of auto makers shown by Apple at Monday's keynote is:

  • BMW
  • General Motors
  • Mercedes-Benz
  • Land Rover
  • Jaguar
  • Audi
  • Toyota
  • Chrysler
  • Honda
Eyes Free

Apple's official product page for Siri functions in iOS 6 notes that Eyes Free will allow users to call people, select and play music, hear and compose text messages, use Maps and get directions, read notifications, find calendar information, add reminders and more.

Even before iOS 6 and Eyes Free were announced, some auto makers were working to offer Siri integration with their vehicles. For example, in February Mercedes-Benz announced that its in-house "Digital DriveStyle App" would make it the first automative manufacturer to offer built-in Siri support.