How Apple Gets Involved In the Internet of Things

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The Internet of Things (IoT) is a sexy topic, and could mean a lot of different things to a lot of different companies. For Apple (AAPL), it may mean the car.

Jefferies analyst Peter Misek, who gave his thoughts on what to expect from the next iPhone, believes Apple's recently announced CarPlay is Apple's foray into IoT. "We believe CarPlay, iWatch, and other wearables/IoT opportunities can strengthen Apple's ecosystem and create a halo effect for iPhone/iPad/ Mac sales," Misek wrote in his note. Misek notes the CarPlay software is powered on BlackBerry's (BBRY) QNX platform.

CarPlay, previously known as iOS in the Car, affords iPhone users a more intuitive way to use the car's infotainment center, as well as making calls, using Maps, listening to music and accessing messages. Auto manufacturers included in the rollout this week are Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo. Other manufacturers are coming later this year, including BMW, Ford (F), General Motors (GM), Jaguar Land Rover, Toyota Motor (TM) and many, many others coming later this year.

Not only does CarPlay give drivers access to everything that's on their iPhone, including music, podcasts, audiobooks and iTunes Radio, but it also supports select third-party audio apps. In the press release, Apple touted support for Spotify and iHeartRadio, but not Pandora (P) or Google (GOOG) Play Music.

The connected car market is expected to be enormous, with Transparency Market Research Report noting it's expected to reach $131.9 billion by 2019. As Apple struggles to generate revenue growth from its existing products, the company is looking at alternative measures, including CarPlay, to drive growth, while the company works on new products.

Cisco (CSCO) has said previously there's the potential for companies to generate as much as $14.4 trillion in revenue over the next decade (2013-2022), as more devices become connected to the grid. The next big connected device is the car, judging by the Consumer Electronics Show. Seemingly every car manufacturer was at CES this year, all looking to show off their latest in-car experience.

Apple is starting to show off new products and new areas in 2014, with CarPlay being one of them. Assuming Apple releases its long-awaited iWatch later this year, it looks as if Apple wants its piece of the $14.4 trillion in revenue from IoT as well: one iDevice at a time.

-- Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York

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