Ford said Sync 3 will be more intuitive, sport improved voice-recognition software and operate more like a smartphone than the first two generations, the last of which prompted customer complaints in Consumer Reports magazine for being distracting, clumsy and overly complex.
               
Chief Technology Officer Raj Nair said Ford put a lot of effort into finding out what customers wanted, including drawing on 22,000 consumer comments.
 
Citing smartphone ownership of about 80 percent by Ford customers, Nair said Sync 3 will "perform more like today's smartphones and tablets but with specific details to make it appropriate for travel." It will also "seamlessly integrate" with Apple Inc's Siri virtual-assistant capability for iPhone users.
               
Getting connectivity right is important for all automakers at a time when problems with infotainment systems are often the biggest complaint about new vehicles, according to an annual quality survey released in October by Consumer Reports.
               
Ford performed poorly in Consumer Reports' survey just a few years ago because of the Sync with MyFord Touch system. However, the complaints dropped significantly this year.
               
Ford said it has turned the corner on customer satisfaction on the current version of Sync, which was initially panned but is now receiving high marks from customers. Sync was introduced in January 2007.
               
Nair said Sync 3 was the most heavily researched program in Ford's history. The new version was developed over 18 months, and includes a simplified layout, larger fonts and bigger finger touch zones. The development budget was undisclosed.
               
IHS Automotive analyst Mark Boyadjis said the current MyFord Touch system still carries the stigma of early consumer complaints and added that Ford was smart to drop the name for  upcoming models. Calling Sync 3 a likely success, he said it will help that bad history fade.
               
The third generation of Ford's connectivity system will begin to appear in new cars and trucks in North America next fall for model year 2016 and be available across its North American lineup by the end of 2016 for the 2017 model year.
               
Pricing will be similar on Sync 3 to the current version, which costs just under $1,000. Ford will offer the new system in Europe and Asia, but has not announced the timing.