In what is a sign of things likely to come to the US and other markets, Audi recently introduced a new iPhone app for owners of the Audi A1 and A3 in Germany that is a virtual owners manual. The user can point the camera at various parts of the car and the app will deliver more information on whatever is featured, making it much more simple to retrieve information than a paperback owners manual with a table of content and appendix. The app is available in iTunes Germany in English, German and Japanese, and could easily be extended to other countries if Germany proves the concept to be viable and well liked by owners. You can see the app live in iTunes Germany here: https://itunes.apple.com/de/app/audi-ekurzinfo/id436341817
The only downside is that the user needs a WiFi connection and an iPhone. I would presume if this technology came to the UK or US it would need to be ported over to Android as well, given Android now captures a large share of the smartphone market in these countries. Owners of the A1 and A3 tend to be sophisticated professionals that one would expect to be avid smartphone users, so I think this concept is a smart idea.
Other advantages of the app-based owners manual over a printed one is that it would be updated in real-time, so that if new information is available or a recall is issued, the app could notify the owner instantly, whereas a paperback manual cannot be updated easily after being printed. Likewise the app would be much less bulky, living more space in your glovebox for knick-knacks and other essentials. I would think another feature that would be nice is if the app could store vehicle information such as maintenance records and alert you of scheduled maintenance, that would be another nice thing to have.
What do you think – would you like an Owners Manual app or do you prefer a good old fashioned paperback copy?