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Tesla to release a ‘big’ mobile app update with version 8.1 next month, says Elon Musk


Tesla CEO Elon Musk already disclosed that Tesla aims to release version 8.1 of its operating system in December and that it will feature UI improvements, but today he also added that a “big mobile app update” is also planned with the release of vehicle software.

Not much is known about the upcoming update other than what Tesla announced in the release notes of v8.0 about the new off-ramp feature:

“When at a highway exit, it will favor marked lane lines in the direction of vehicle indicator (8.0)* or in the direction suggested by the navigation system if active (8.1). This feature will be available initially in the US and later in all countries where lane markings are open for highway exits.”

Improvements to the media player, especially when playing from a USB drive, are also expected.

The update to the mobile app wasn’t expected until Musk confirmed it on Twitter today:

Tesla’s mobile app was really well-received back when it launched back in 2012 and our sister-site 9to5mac even named it “iPhone App of the year” in 2013, but it hasn’t received much love from Tesla’s UI and development teams since then.

But we are excited for Tesla can bring to the app especially since it added some great talent to its UI team since the last major update. For example, long-time Apple UI designer Bas Ording has joined the team last year.

Ording was one of Apple’s top user interface designer from 1998 to 2013 and he has been credited in designing several of the Cupertino company’s signature mobile iOS features like text selection, magnification, and kinetic and bouncy scrolling.

He used to hold design meetings with Steve Jobs every other week. He left the company not long after Jobs’ death. He explained why he left Apple in an interview in 2014:

“Because my name is listed on patents, I increasingly had to appear in court cases versus HTC and Samsung,” he said, “That started to annoy me. I spent more time in court than designing. Aside from that, I missed the interaction with Steve Jobs. We discussed matters every fourteen days.”

After a hiatus, he joined Tesla last year and we can’t wait to see what he the UI team can do with all the great screen real estate in Tesla’s vehicles and on mobile.

What do you want to see in Tesla’s mobile app update? Let us know in the comment section below.

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