Plus, the car will also always be hopelessly behind the smartphone in terms of capabilities. The car's infotainment system takes years to develop and bring to market, whereas a new smartphone takes less than a year.
The car companies understand that buyers know their car hardware take longer to upgrade than a smartphone. Therefore, their newest argument is that the car will be software upgradeable. Well, good luck with that! My smartphone doesn't get upgrades for more than two to four years, and then it's time to buy new hardware if you want to run competitive software.
In other words, there comes a point -- long before the car is written off -- where you need to upgrade not just the software, but also the hardware, in order to have a shot at being competitive. Given how a car is engineered, that will not be as easy as it is to pick up Apple's (AAPL) iPhone 6 to replace the iPhone 5.
At a minimum, this stuff will take time and be costly. People are already stretched trying to upgrade their smartphone every two years. The car is made to last a lifetime, although you might only own it three to 15 years.
Another argument that is made is that hands-free devices prevent driver distraction and increase safety. That argument doesn't hold water either. A person knows how to operate his or her smartphone with ease. In contrast, the most distracting thing is to try to learn the car's interface. This is why almost nobody uses the car's interface for anything, given that the smartphone can do the same things so much better anyway.
Furthermore, many people simply don't want the car to have any infotainment electronics, even if they are free and have a better interface than the smartphone. Every time I drive a decades-old car, with no electronics at all, it feels like a detox. No menus to learn, no settings to worry about -- just the purity of the drive, perhaps with a simple radio knob.
In other words, some people would pay more for a car with no more infotainment electronics than a 20-year-old car used to have.
Assisted Driving and, Eventually, Self-Driving Cars
There is something emasculating about a self-driving car. Are people not going to be required to be able to do anything at all anymore? What's next, a robot spooning cereal into your mouth?