I've often been bemused by the archaic systems in cars. Even the notion of plugging in a phone or iPod seems weird, especially if it's to an 'Aux In' where you only have control on the device itself (which you'll not be allowed to hold as it's a phone - or looks like one in the case of an iPod).
Here's what I would like in cars:
1) Wi-fi connection: You can put them in phones and laptops for peanuts. Put one in a car by default because I'd also like...
2) ...a 1Tb hard drive to store all my music. UNCOMPRESSED. We didn't progress to CD quality only to go backwards with MP3 (which actually is lower quality than tape in terms of output, frequency reproduction and dynamic range). I want to be able to connect my car to my home wi-fi as a device and drag-and-drop music to it. I know some BMWs allow you to 'rip' the CD to the car's hard drive but this is a bizarrely clunky way of doing it (who wants to sit there feeding discs in one after the other and waiting for it to rip?) and the drive was only something paltry like 20Gb. Also I can't imagine that managing the music on there was particularly easy (and I'd suspect that things like tagging were not on the menu for many albums without CD-TEXT). Oh, and it assumes that you have your entire music collection on disc. How quaint.
3) Support for all major formats. I accept there will be a need for lossy formats, so in-car systems should support all of the following audio formats: FLAC, OGG, m4a MP3, AAC, WMA, WAV and APE. They should support playlists too.
4) Remove cigarette lighters. They're an appalling connector and borne of legacy, not design. Have an amnesty. On 'x' date, all manufactures replace cigarette lighters with a double or triple USB socket instead. Most of the things we like to charge can be charged from USB. Set a cutoff date and stop using such a terribly-designed connector.
5) DAB. They're going to turn off all analogue radio signals in the not-too-distant, rendering EVERY car radio utterly useless. DAB should now be the default. It should also give higher bitrates to each channel, there's no excuse for a 64kbps DAB signal. 192kbps or higher please.
6) Bluetooth on all cars. It's not expensive. I can buy a bluetooth earpiece for a tenner - fit the tech to every car, especially as using a mobile is now illegal when you're driving. Allow the phonebook to be accessed on the car's system, as well as making or receiving calls.
7) Mobile internet. If Amazon can provide it on the Kindle for free, car manufacturers can too. There's no reason why all cars shouldn't have basic internet access for things like searching the local area. In fact, abolish stupidly-expensive (and outdated) nav systems in cars - use the tech from any modern Android phone with free Google Navigation - maps are always up to date, as is the live traffic info. Not to mention the advantages if the car is stolen - it can text you that it's been nicked, and the GPS can immediately tell the Police where the car is at any given point.
8) Speakers. Minimum of four mid/bass units in the doors/panels and four tweeters up top at ear-level. Aiwa can fit tweeters in a £30 stereo, car manufacturers should too.
9) Integrated controls on the wheel. It's not hard. Buttons for Play/Pause, Next/Previous, Vol+ and Vol- and a button for answering phone calls. Not difficult.
All I can say is that it's a good thing the car industry isn't responsible for the progress of the computing industry; we'd still be using BBCs and ZX Spectrums if the automotive folks were at the technological tiller. Conversely, if the IT industry were responsible for the progress of the car industry, I think we'd have flying jet cars by now.
That's an excellent wish and many of those features would be enough to get me to move from manufacturer X to manufacture Y, in fact some of the Ford Sync technology has me looking at the Focus as serious replacement for my current car.
However I feel I must rain on your parade somewhat;
1) Wi-fi connection:
While I can think of a number of uses for integrated WiFi in my car, (e.g. having an AirPlay capable car) even given the small cost of adding the necessary hardware I can't see many manufactures adding it when the even the 'pie in the sky' uses are poorly defined and the real world users simply don't exists for 90% of car buyers.
2) ...a 1Tb hard drive to store all my music. UNCOMPRESSED.
I too enjoy my music uncompressed, but when on the move there is simply no need for uncompressed music, the car is not an audiophile friendly environment and I challenge anyone to tell the difference between a well encoded MP3 file and an uncompressed FLAC or AAC file at 70mph on the M25. There's a pint waiting for you if you can tell the difference. Ripping/purchasing music on a computer and storing it on a portable player provides a much better experience for 90% of users, and neatly gets round the issue of labelling tracks or listening to music that isn't on discs. Plus, cars are't not a great environment for spinning hard drives
3) Support for all major formats.
Format support will be solely determined by the formats supported by the chips used in player, and to be honest, only MP3, AAC and WMA are really required. The higher quality, open source and DRM laden formats aren't required by 99% of car purchasers
4) Remove cigarette lighters.
Amen! But not going to happen in the next five years, there's simply too much invested in this crappy connector. You and I might be willing to replace every cable we use in the car but most car purchasers will complain at having to buy a new £10 cable for their TomTom.
Can't comment, don't listen to the Radio in the car, but I assume broadcasters user low bit rate to squeeze more content into available frequencies.
6) Bluetooth on all cars.
Agreed, but the integration between phone and car requires relationships between car and electronic manufactures (not much evidence they can do that) or a standard, and someone usually wants to control a standard for commercial gain.
7) Mobile Internet.
Amazon provide Internet access on Kindles for free because it drives sales of books to Kindle users. There's no current business model I think of that would allow manufactures to recover the cost of providing open Internet access, and you can't rely on that access being available everywhere. Plus, you have the obsolete technology issue. What will Internet access look like when that brand new fleet car is 10 years old? My 10 year old mobile phone can make calls and send text messages, but that's it.
Why fit £30 speakers when 90% of users are happy with £5 speakers, especially when you can charge those 10% of owners hundreds of £s to upgrade.
9) Integrated controls on the wheel.
Great idea, and most modern cars have this features for the cars integrated system, but it becomes very difficult if you want to integrate those buttons with all the possible music players/phones that might be connected to the car.
Putting fast evolving technology into a car that will last for at least 10 years if fraught with issues. It's taken us this long to get to the point where we can reasonably expect to find an analogue stereo line in and a 12v power supply in a new car. The simple fact is that these features are not what drive a consumers decision to buy a new car, but these features can be used to drive sales of extras and options.
And comparing the car and technology industries is not a fair comparison. Yes technology have advanced hugely in recent years, but we don't have to replace our cars every three years or reboot them every week (although I did once have to restart a Prius to get the self parking feature to work).
I agree with your wish and I would pay money for most of the features you listed, but most of them are still afterthoughts for car buyers, and therefore aren't important for car manufactures. I think a lot of the modern features on modern car stereos are there because it suits manufactures. Why install a tape deck, cd player/changer, mini disc that will cost the manufacturer money when the driver can provide it him/herself.