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Cup Holders Out, iPad Holders In

Kelli B. Grant

Senior consumer reporter and “Deal of Day” columnist Kelli B. Grant navigates the New York International Auto Show. Join her as she roams the exhibit floor Wednesday and Thursday before the show’s public opening on Friday, with dispatches here and on Twitter @kellibgrant.

Consumers may upgrade their iPad every year and their smartphone every two, but car manufacturers have been slow to keep up. Now in-car technology is accelerating.

The latest models from Mercedes-Benz incorporate a range of features that can update with your tech, including an iPad mount for rear-seat entertainment and cloud-based apps for web searches, directions and even stock market quotes. “It’s a really smart way to go,” says Jeremy Anwyl, vice chairman of pricing site “This way, [the car] doesn’t become obsolete when you switch out your technology.”

A spokesman says drivers can also integrate their smartphones. The Drive Style app — initially  shown at the Consumer Electronics Show this year as a concept — has since been green-lighted for public use, he says. Users can sync their phone with the in-car entertainment system for calls and to have emails and texts read aloud. Got Siri? Voice-commands are also an option, he says.

But experts still generally recommend minimizing other tasks while driving. “We’re finding that some of the technology to minimize distraction is, itself, pretty distracting,” says Anwyl.


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About Pay Dirt

  • Pay Dirt examines the millions of consumer decisions Americans make every day: What to buy, how much to pay, whether to rave or complain. Lead written by Quentin Fottrell, the blog examines these interactions, providing readers with news, insight and tips on shopping, spending, customer service, and companies that do right – and wrong – by their customers. Send items, questions and comments to or tweet @SMPayDirt.