At the New York Auto Show this week, automaker Hyundai did the expected by announcing its 2011 models. But Hyundai surprised everyone by announcing it's 2011 Equus sedan will come with a free Apple iPad that will serve as the car's owners manual.
"The plan is to have a complimentary iPad with each vehicle," Miles Johnson, Product Public Relations Manager for Hyundai, told TechNewsDaily.
The announcement, which is unprecedented in the auto industry, was downplayed in the announcement partly, Johnson said, because the iPad has yet to be officially released and Hyundai's plan is still in the concept stage of development. (Read more about the iPad.)
Hyundai has yet to even decide if the Equus will include a Wi-Fi only or 3G model of the iPad, but Johnson says the company already sees several uses for it.
"There are several concept applications," Johnson said. "The owner's manual would live on the iPad, could be updated easily and display pictures and video as explanations. The online application would be an asset. Owners could use the connection to schedule maintenance, schedule pickup and delivery, things like that."
Even though Hyundai's plan is in the early stages, the company is already hard at work on it.
"We have an ongoing relationship with Apple to purchase the iPads and create the apps," Johnson said.
Apps — short for "applications" — are what would house the owner's manual and provide features like maintenance scheduling.
Johnson said that more details will be forthcoming as the plan progresses.
The Equus itself will be Hyundai's attempt to "break down the barriers of owning a luxury car" according to the announcement and is expected to sell somewhere in the $50,000 range.