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Anyone interested in an iBeetle with integrated iPhone dock?

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According to a press release the past weekend, Volkswagen unveiled the ‘iBeetle’ at the Shanghai Motor Show in the city’s Pudong district. The vehicle is expected to launch early next year, and will come in both coupe and convertible models.

You may ask: why is it called the iBeetle?

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Well the car features a custom built-in iPhone docking station, as well as a companion app, that will allow you to sync your iPhone with its entertainment system for making phone calls, streaming music and more. Volkswagen claims that this is the first time a vehicle has featured a “genuine integrative interface for the iPhone that was coordinated with Apple”. And in addition to the app and dock, the iBeetle will also feature Chrome trim, and custom ‘Disc’ wheels and badging.

Here’s some of the car’s capabilities noted in Volkswagen’s press release:

The newly designed docking station is located centrally on the dashboard of the Beetle: the iPhone simply snaps in to integrate it with the car. Essentially, all iPhone functions can be used in the Beetle; the iPhone can be used to navigate, make calls hands-free, listen to music, and much more.

When this special app is launched on an iPhone, it can either connect the phone to the Beetle via the docking station or wirelessly. Each option allows for different app functions to be accessed:

Spotify: lets users stream media such as new songs, customized playlists or online radio stations into the Beetle. Those who wish can post their favorite music directly to friends. In addition, users in the Beetle can switch between “Spotify” and “iTunes” at any time.

Expert: offers five functions which make the iPhone an extended on-board instrument of the Beetle, such as a G-Meter (for measuring lateral acceleration), oil and coolant temperature gauges for the engine, a chronometer, and a compass.

Trainer: can be used to compare driving times, distances, and fuel economy values for different routes between any two destinations. Here, too, tips can be posted via social networks like Twitter and Facebook-such as which route is faster to the office.

Reader: lists the latest messages from social networks like Facebook, and reads iPhone messages aloud.

Postcard: Sends the current location of the Beetle to friends as a digital postcard with a map motif.

Photo: Sends photos taken inside the car to numerous social networks. Simply activate it, and the app does the rest.

Milestones: Available when the smartphone is undocked. Rewards its users with virtual “milestone stickers” for the Beetle when certain tasks have been completed.

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