Mossberg: “BMW iPod adapter works, but in a pretty crude way” | iLounge News


Mossberg: “BMW iPod adapter works, but in a pretty crude way”

“I’ve been testing the system in a $54,000 BMW 330Ci convertible, lent to me for a few days by BMW. I have tried several different iPods in the car, including a brand-new, fourth-generation model. My conclusion: The BMW iPod adapter works, but in a pretty crude way that will likely leave the iPod cult hungering for more. It’s a decent first step, but that’s all. [...]

A couple of times, in several days of tests, I’d start the car and the system would freeze up. I had to switch to a different playlist to jolt the iPod into action. And once, when I increased the volume, it suddenly skipped a song.”

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Here is the same thing I wrote over at ipoding.

“I find it sad that you had to actually test this out before determining that you would not like some of the features. However, upon thinking about it when I first heard of how the integration would work I deteremined that the reason for the iPod being the glove compartment and the track names not showing is a safety issue. You don’t want people driving down the road staring at what song is playing and trying to find the right one. Furthermore I think special playlists were set up so you could only pick and choose a lot of songs you want to hear in advance rather than continusly clicking next when you are on a song you don’t feel like listening to. Remember you can’t just scroll to a certain song, but need to actually go through every song to find the one you want. Hence, the specified playlists.”

Posted by Ryan in Irvine, CA on August 5, 2004 at 12:55 PM (CDT)


My factory-installed radio displays text - radio station name, title/artist of song playing, weather - and that hasn’t caused me to get into an accident.  My CD player shows disk and track number, which also hasn’t caused me to drive into other cars or people.

Posted by P in Irvine, CA on August 5, 2004 at 1:02 PM (CDT)


I have a 2002 325i with a blitzsafe aux input that I installed in less than 30 min. Works great, total cost $125.00.With a tunedock holder I can read all info on display .  I wonder is the ipod just bouncing around in the glove box , or is it secured. I don’t see any info about this . It is a step in the right direction but a small expensive one.

Posted by Brad in Irvine, CA on August 5, 2004 at 1:47 PM (CDT)


Sheesh! The guy tests a $54,000 iPod accessory, complete with steering column and convertible top and still finds something wrong with it! :-)

Posted by Nick in Irvine, CA on August 5, 2004 at 2:19 PM (CDT)


I have mine installed in my brand new BMW 330xi and I love it!  I haven’t had any freeze ups at all.  The only glitch that has happened once or twice is an odd sudden reversion to FM radio while you’re in the middle of an Ipod tune.  Other than that random occurence it works very well.

I will you could browse your collection and run it like an Ipod usually runs.  But doing that without a companion in the vehicle pushing all the buttons really isn’t safe.  The way this is implemented is flawlessly safe for the driver—you pick playlists and go.  You can skip tracks (and jump ten tracks at a time—very helpful with long playlists) and control volume from the steering wheel.  The sound quality is light years better than either a tape deck interface or an FM transmitter.  And it is s seamless, the Ipod just sits in the glovebox (and yes, it just rattles around in there—no docking station or case or anything.)  No wierd wires or duct tape or velcro or anything.  And no Ipod to distract you either!

It is definitely worth doing even though it could be a lot better!  I agree with Mossberg but I’m glad I did it just the same.

Posted by random person in Irvine, CA on August 5, 2004 at 4:37 PM (CDT)


“All you see on the car’s audio display are arbitrary track numbers. And the only playlists the system can handle are special ones you have to set up and name “BMW1” through “BMW5.”

Has anyone noticed that on the commercials the radio shows the song name? This is total bullshit IMO. Total false advertising.
It sounds like it’s not better than the Dension that I bought. Which, btw, I totally hate. It’s already broken, they’re taking forever to get a replacement part to me, and they won’t give me my money back even tho it’s just over 2 months old. DO NOT BUY FROM DENSION. The product sucks.

Posted by Scot in Irvine, CA on August 5, 2004 at 6:01 PM (CDT)


Got one installed in a new 330ci and it does the job. I bought it for one thing, and one thing only; to play music. my playlists are set at home anyway, so I couldn’t care less about adjusting anything on the Ipod while in the car. As for track names, couldn’t care less as well. I know the artist and song if it’s on a playlist, so why is that even an issue. IMHO it works flawlessly without any lockups. It might still need a 2.0 or 3.0 version to provide everything everyone wants, but if I had to complain about anything it’s the fact that it just dangles in the glove compartment. Surely Apple or BMW could have provided something to support the player while in the glove compartment. That’s pretty stingy for the money and installation paid. Overall, considering I’m not picky about name titles being displayed and having more to work with visually, I’d give it a 9 out of 10. Music quality is top notch which is the most important thing and I’ve got no complaints with lockups, so you are looking at a happy camper.

Posted by LTM in Irvine, CA on August 5, 2004 at 10:57 PM (CDT)


I agree with the reviewer, I think as it is the current ipod implementation in the BMW is kind of sloppy, looking more like a hacked cd-changer interface than a true ipod UI. I’m looking forward to seeing what Alpine does with their AINet device. At the least, access to your playlists by actual name and song+title info should be shown when the song is playing or being scanned through.

Posted by Alex in Irvine, CA on August 6, 2004 at 2:14 PM (CDT)


I’ve got a Kenwood receiver with a CD changer input on the back. I got an adapter that adds an auxilary input to the CD changer input to allow me to keep the CD changer and have an auxilary unit hooked up (could be a 2nd CD changer). Then, i’ve got a standard RCA cable (Radio Shack, $6) plugged in to the auxilary and it comes out below the dash with a single headphone plug which plugs in to my ipod. My ipod sits on my lap (I drive from my wheelchair) and I get ALL the song information on the iPod screen (which I can check at red lights or in LA traffic). i got this set-up because I told someone I wanted the Dension…they told me this was cheaper and just as good. No..I don’t get the song info on the radio face…but who cares? it’s on my ipod…and besides…my cassettes don’t display song titles, the CD changer doesn’t, and neither does the radio. I got the adapter to add the auxillary so I could keep my cd changer…I still have the same CDs in the cartridge that I had the day I got this installed. I have only listened to my CD player ONCE…because i got a CD at a concert and i didn’t have a way to put it on my ‘pod and I wanted to listen to it on the way home.

CONSIDER this option! It REALLY works…and quite well. It will blow your mind how good it sounds.

Posted by Larry Singer in Irvine, CA on August 8, 2004 at 1:15 AM (CDT)


Go for the Apline interface

Posted by AZ in Irvine, CA on August 9, 2004 at 1:08 AM (CDT)


54,000!!!! Why would you buy when you can get an iTrip for $40. And it works with all cars with a radio.

Posted by Dave in Irvine, CA on August 11, 2004 at 11:33 AM (CDT)


One reason:  Sound quality.

Posted by dmt1 in Irvine, CA on August 11, 2004 at 2:50 PM (CDT)


Got it installed in my 330i. Works flawlessly, sounds perfect, using random it’s like your favorite radio station w/out commercials. Ipod is secure in glovebox next to leather folder holding manual and I drive like Tony Stewart.

Posted by Paul in Irvine, CA on August 15, 2004 at 7:50 AM (CDT)


I can’t get my ipod to respect my playlists. I set up the playlists as normal, but it just plays the tracks in whatever sequence it sees fit. Shuffle is NOT ON. It seems to be playing either in the order I added the songs to the list, or alphabetically by artist.

I have tried creating the list in Itunes, moving the songs around in the sequence I want, and then tranferring the songs to the BMW playlists, but no go. Is this the way it is supposed to work?

Posted by Mike in Irvine, CA on August 17, 2004 at 9:35 AM (CDT)


I love both my 4G Ipod and my Bimmer. If your fortunate enough to have both then obviously the best way to connect them is the BMW IPOD integration cable. It’s not just a cable it’s also an interface module. Think about it, how else can your IPOD get a true audio connection, batteries charged, and controlled through the steering wheel? The other options don’t even come close. If you don’t like the glovebox location simply move the connector, I’m installing mine in the armrest. :)

Posted by Ultimate IPOD accessory in Irvine, CA on September 4, 2004 at 1:24 AM (CDT)


I have it installed in my X5 3.0 using the ipod adapter.  Initially, the Ipod displayed BMW but now it displays normal song info.  Also, the unit no longer gets power while connnected so it is using the ipod battery.  Periodically the car’s sound system shuts down as if it has lost all power.  I have to turn the stereo back on.  This happens while the Ipod is playing or not.

While I like the sound (it’s awesome) I am concerned about the irregularity of stereo.  What gives?

Posted by PaulG in Irvine, CA on September 6, 2004 at 11:56 AM (CDT)


ok, what is the best way to hook up my bmw 330CI with an ipod?? I have a 2001 w/ standard business cd player.

Posted by THAiGER in Irvine, CA on September 7, 2004 at 9:20 PM (CDT)


The BMW adaptor is very difficult to find - I finally found one after a month of searching.  IN the meantime I purchased a TransPodFM for $99 at Best Buy.  It has a digital readout for the FM station transmission, and the iPod sits in a very secure sleeve - receiving power and allowing me to navigate the iPod with full functionality.  I love this thing!  Is the BMW interface that much better?  The real advantage to this device is that it can travel with me from car to car - I see that as a major +.

Posted by KenG in Irvine, CA on September 11, 2004 at 11:46 AM (CDT)


I recind my earlier comments!

The TransPodFM is a very convenient tool, but if you are going to travel any distance, be prepared to have to change the stations you transmit through.

I’m calling the dealer inthe morning to schedule my appointment for installation!

Posted by KenG in Irvine, CA on September 13, 2004 at 8:53 PM (CDT)


I am atonished at the cost to install the BMW intregration. the dealers around my town all charge about $300. Is that normal??

Posted by Teegs in Irvine, CA on September 22, 2004 at 9:09 PM (CDT)

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