The BMW Group is one of the most successful manufacturers of automobiles and motorcycles in the world with its BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce brands. As a global company, the BMW Group operates 24 production facilities in 13 countries and has a global sales network in more than 140 countries.
It was in June2004 when BMW became world’s first car manufacturer to integrate iPod with its audio system. It offered to control the music with audio controls that are built-in the steering wheel. Later in 2004, Mini came up with a same solution. BMW 3 Series, X3 and X5 SAV, Z4 Roadster and MINI where the cars that; had this superb feature. Then came the birth of iPhone, in 2007, and the BMW Group got the lead again. It introduced the system whereby the user could integrate iPhone with car’s infotainment system.
iPod Out Feature
The previous iPod video function only provided an interface with which one could only view the video. It was a one-way communication protocol. There really was no simple method to send commands to the gadget. Now the new iPod Out feature allows manufacturers to both view the iPod interface as well as directly interact with it.
The New Technology
The developers found the extended support of “iPod Accessory Protocol” after the release of iOS 4 beta. BWM and Mini cars would be adding the support of this new feature from the next year. Palo Alto technology office of BMW in the Silicon Valley has spent three years doing research in collaboration with the German engineers based in the BMW Research and Innovation House, Munich. Quoted by BMW this new feature is unlike the previous iPod car integration system that only provides the basic playback controls and the “biggest advantage” of this technology is that it presents a familiar Apple interface.
When a vehicle supporting this feature would be connected to iPod Out interface, it would start displaying Apple’s interface. This interface has been programmed in a fashion that it can simple be controlled with the vehicle’s built-in controls. It would provide features to control the iPod’s music playback, browse music catalog, playlists, podcasts, and Genius mixes.
“The new BMW Group iPod Out support mirrors the innovation strategy of BMW ConnectedDrive for the BMW brand and will be part of the new offer called MINI Connected for the MINI brand. Both brands aim at connecting driver and passengers to their personal infotainment world in an intuitive and non-distracting way while on board. The optimized use of consumer mobile devices in an on-board environment plays a central role in this connection.” Extract from BMW’s Media report on iPod Out feature
One could have thought of a touch screen interface in these performance cars which would have proved to be much techy than handling the phone through the controls on the steering wheel. Well thanks to this interface now you can display your song info on the screen, set visualization & control it with a lot of ease. The touch screen interface would have proved to be fatal for driving as the control buttons on the steering wheel are much bigger, easier to use, easier to read and closer to eye level of the car.