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Apple’s next big thing won’t be in mobile gadgets, but in smartcars?

What’s the next big thing for Apple? Some are suggesting a newly redesigned iPhone or an iWatch, but what about something grander?  Perhaps Apple’s next target will be in the automotive business, and what else can it be besides an “iCar.”

Recently, Apple teamed up with Volkswagen to show off the iBeetle at the Shanghai Auto Show.  The new VW Beetle isn’t necessarily faster or sleeker than non-iBeetles, but what the iBeetle does possess is a highly integrated iPhone system.  When the iPhone docks into the car’s computer system, it can tap into the vehicle’s navigation and audio systems.  The iBeetle concept isn’t even remotely interesting, but what is interesting about it is the convergence of technologies from all sectors.

Researchers at ABI predict that over 200 million cars will have internet access by 2016, and that means even more flexibility for not only the consumers but also the producers of electronic goods.  Apple may not be first onto the scene in regards to integrating smart technology into automobiles, but perhaps it can help to accelerate the adoption (both from consumers and manufacturers) of smart technologies in cars using its brand and marketing power.

Detroit won’t be overrun by “Apple Geniuses” anytime soon—and we’re hoping it won’t.  In the coming years, however, we will see consumer tech companies like Apple hook up with automakers to redefine and refine “smartcars.”  Google is a bit ahead of the curve as it has already gotten its hands dirty with self-driven cars, but there is a lot more to do in terms of automotive smart technology.

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