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Apple, BMW intro iPod adapter; ‘iPod Your BMW’ campaign launched

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By LC Angell

Contributing Editor
Published: Monday, June 21, 2004
News Categories: iPod Accessories

Apple and BMW today officially announced the BMW iPod Adapter. “Connect with music like never before behind the wheel of your BMW 3 Series, and X3 and X5 SAV, Z4 Roadster or MINI. With the installation of an integrated adapter developed by Apple and BMW, you can now control your iPod or iPod mini through the existing audio system and multi-function steering wheel. Which means no loss of power. No loss of sound quality. No loss of control. The BMW iPod adapter can be installed in 2002 or later 3 Series, X3 and X5 SAVs, Z4 Roadsters and MINIs with compatible audio configurations.” The BMW iPod Adapter is priced at $149 (plus installation cost) and will be available at BMW centers as of July 12, 2004.

Apple and BMW said they have also launched a large “iPod Your BMW” marketing campaign that includes print, outdoor, online and television advertising (a TV spot has already been posted in QuickTime format on Apple’s site).

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Comments

1

Part of me is pleased in Apple (and BMW’s?) direction on this, it’d be nice to get rid of the FM transmitters and cassette adapters. But I’m also somewhat disappointed they didn’t take it further. Once you read the online demo you’ll see what I mean - you pre-set up 5 “BMW Playlists” and can select one of them (or your whole library) from the steering wheel. The iPod sits, charging, in the glove box. But the onscreen display just says “Track 1” or “Track 5.” What I would’ve liked is for the head unit to actually say the name of the track, artist, album, etc. I’d like to be able to browse through ANY playlist I have set up! Or browse through artist, album, genre, just as I do on the iPod itself. At $145 though, it’s a workable and (sorta) elegant solution. But it seems so… so… intermediary. It’s almost like an extended remote control, not a UI replacement using the radio head unit.

That said, the Alpine iPod head unit certainly looks sexy. But it was announced in January with so new updates since then. No word on pricing, but something tells me it won’t be cheap:

http://www.vwvortex.com/artman/publish/industry_news/article_650.shtml

This unit looks like it accesses the iPod as a mounted hard drive. This allows it to display ID tag info, the way I’d hope. But then again (my speculation entirely) this will probably have problems with DRM’ed iTMS files ... and would only handle standard MP3’s (and hopefully AAC’s.) I imagine it would need to be “authorized” by Apple as a iTMS compatible device in order to play those purchased files. Maybe that’s what’s causing the delay? It smells like vaporware to me, but sure would love to hear otherwise.

Posted by Josh on June 21, 2004 at 11:22 AM (PDT)

2

The video doesn’t work, it shows me a symbol of quicktime,and it doesn’t work.

Posted by Yarin on June 21, 2004 at 11:38 AM (PDT)

3

Too bad we just got a Volvo XC90 this week, not that something like that would make us want a BMW instead. Its one of the nicest cars of its size (its a SUV) as far as being realistic to its use and it looks pretty sexy as well.

Posted by Boaguy on June 21, 2004 at 5:46 PM (PDT)

4

Too bad we just got a Volvo XC90 this week, not that something like that would make us want a BMW instead. Its one of the nicest cars of its size (its a SUV) as far as being realistic to its use and it looks pretty sexy as well.

Posted by Boaguy on June 21, 2004 at 5:47 PM (PDT)

5

I’m guessing that they had to retrofit this to the existing BMW stereos.  Probably using the CD changer control interface so it can’t feed back more than “Track 1, CD 1” since CDs can’t transmit track names or anything more elaborate.

Maybe future stereos would have better integration.

Instead of using the CD changer control interface or aftermarket products like the Alpine, Apple should try to work with car makers to improve the integration.

Like having a display designed to display all the ID3 info.  And instead of plugging into a cable, it would be nice to have a “slot” where you can just slide the iPod in.

Only problem is that Apple is going to constantly change the form factor and the plugs used to connect to the dock, or the Firewire or USB cable adapters.

If Apple can commit to one pin or plug design for several years, then car makers might be more receptive.

Either that or do it thru Firewire.

Posted by wco81 on June 21, 2004 at 9:02 PM (PDT)

6

I can’t believe how many restrictions (i.e., doesn’t work with BMWs with navigation system, CD changers, etc., etc.) this *integration* comes with! If I have a newer BMW (btw works only with BMWs bought after 2002) I want ALL the toys that BNW can offer me! Seems like a system doomed from the start.

Posted by Miffed on June 21, 2004 at 11:04 PM (PDT)

7

hmmmm dont like it, ice link is better

Posted by urban on June 21, 2004 at 11:41 PM (PDT)

8

lovely, i have a 2003 bmw 325ci…perfect!! but when will it come to Australia?!

Posted by AusPod on June 22, 2004 at 1:32 AM (PDT)

9

I also would like to see a place create in the glove box for the iPod. The way it’s shown, it looks like it can slide around alot while driving.

still, it is a step forward.

Posted by Starboard on June 22, 2004 at 11:06 AM (PDT)

10

it’s nothing close to smart i-move

Posted by Patrick on June 22, 2004 at 3:16 PM (PDT)

11

this is a pretty cool innovation to put in the beemer i dont understand why it couldnt work in n e other car with steering wheel features…this is exactly what i was looking for but im not going to buy a bmw just for that feature. Any ideas in how i can set it up (sexily) in an audi s4?

Posted by ryan on June 22, 2004 at 4:01 PM (PDT)

12

In answer to my question:  I noticed on the press release for the new iPod/BMW adapter that it is not compatible with 2001 3-Series vehicles.  I wanted to speak to someone with technical knowledge of why it is incompatible and what alternatives may exist.


Dear Mr. B:

Thank you for contacting BMW of North America, LLC regarding the introduction of iPod into certain BMW models. The radio in your BMW is not compatible with the iPod. Further technical information is not published information at this time; additional information may become available in the future.

I am sorry that the i-Pod is only available for 2002 model year 3 Series, X3, X5 and Z4s and newer. Please accept my apologies for the inconvenience. At this time, we have no information to suggest that this might change; however, we are always looking to make our products more exciting. The best suggestion I have for you is to keep in contact with your local BMW center and our website at [url=http://www.bmwusa.com]http://www.bmwusa.com[/url] for the latest updates.

Thank you for choosing BMW. If you have any further questions, please respond to this e-mail or contact the Customer Relations and Services Department at 1-800-831-1117, Monday through Friday from 9:00 A.M. to 9:00 P.M., Eastern Standard Time.

Sincerely,
Karen Labatzky
Customer Relations and Services
Representative

Posted by brett on June 27, 2004 at 10:15 AM (PDT)

13

What is the song playing when the punk rocker is in the back of the car?

Posted by Mike on July 7, 2004 at 5:51 PM (PDT)

14

The 2001 radio in a 325ci with the premium sound system looks identical to the sound in the ad….what is so differant with a 2002 model, if this is another effort to make me trade in my car at a under valued price for a new one thats intergrated I’ll be very upset.  Maybe a little technical mumbojumbo explanation will make all of us who are trying to drive the ultimate driving machine feel rested that so aftermarket company with not have this adaptor for 29.99

Posted by gary on July 8, 2004 at 7:40 PM (PDT)

15

I currently have a Pioneer Avic-n1 system installed in my 2002 330xi, and I would love for my iPod to connect to the Avic-n1 system somehow. Combining the 6.5” lcd touch screen with the iPod would just be awesome.

Posted by Tej on July 9, 2004 at 5:44 PM (PDT)

16

I am thinking of getting this adapter, but is the sound quality that much better than a transmitter?  The BMW dealer is charging $150 just to install this device, bring the cost to $300. So I will be shelling out $200 over the cost a transmitter, is it worth it?

Posted by Jonathan on September 29, 2004 at 11:03 AM (PDT)

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