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June 30, 2007

Apple to Design Mercedes Navigation (COMAND) System

German auto magazine FOCUS is reporting that Apple has entered into an exclusive agreement with Mercedes-Benz to design and manufacture Mercedes' integrated navigation system on select 2009 models.

Details are sketchy right now, but the new navi / COMAND system is slated to debut in Mercedes' 2009 cars. No word on which models will get the Apple makeover, but anyone whose used a COMAND-based 'Benz lately knows the system needs an overhaul.

It's probably a safe bet that the Apple GPS / entertainment control system will support the iPod and iPhone. Hopefully it'll be touch-screen operated (instead of the annoying buttons on the current COMAND systems. While we're making out a wish list: hey Apple - how about some WiFi, Blu-Ray, and Divx/Xvid support?!

Last year I reviewed the SL55 AMG's nav system and found it couldn't compete with after-market units from Garmin and Magellan. This could definitely spice up the in-car GPS market.

According to the FOCUS Magazine article, Apple's deal with Mercedes will be exclusive for the first 6 months, after which we can very likely expect to see the Apple navi system (iGPS?) appearing in luxury cars from other auto-makers.