• Apr 20, 2011
BMW Connected Apps - Click above to watch video tour

BMW has big plans for this week's New York Auto Show, including the debut of the 2012 6 Series Coupe, lease pricing for the all-electric ActiveE and the first application of its new TwinPower turbocharged four-cylinder in the U.S. But that's not all.

BMW gave us an early preview of the next generation ConnectedDrive system, complete with Apple Plugin integration (read: iPod out) for the iPhone and iPod Touch and it's latest foray into the integrated app game, which ports Twitter, Facebook, Pandora and web radio directly into iDrive for a seamless, connected experience.

Follow the jump for our full impressions and a video of the system in action.

If you've been following the progress of MiniConnected, you'll recognize several of these features, specifically Pandora integration and the latest version of iPod out. Some of these apps have been available on the Cooper, Clubman and Countryman since late last year, but this is the first application on BMW's range of products. The new ConnectedDrive system will be available on all models - from the 1 to the 7 Series - beginning next month and the execution is easily the most polished we've seen from an OEM.

Like past BMWs, there's an iPhone cradle fitted to the center console that connects with the iDrive system, allowing you to control the standard iPod music functions through an interface that was co-developed by Apple and BMW. Anyone familiar with an iPod will instantly recognize the music control screen, which comes complete with album art, playlist, artist and genre searches, all accessed through an easy-to-use interface controlled through the iDrive knob. Interestingly, all the rendering is done on the iPhone, with the screen simply acting as an external display.



The Pandora integration is just as trick, allowing you to scroll through and select a channel, give tracks the thumbs up or down, save a song to your favorites, skip a track or create a new channel by searching for an artist or genre. Again, all of this is powered directly through the iPhone, using the data connection to pull in the tracks. And if you're hankering to listen to your old college radio station that's 2,000 miles away, the web radio app allows you to stream the station no matter where you are on the planet.

BMW calls its Facebook and Twitter integration "Automotive Grade," which is a nice way of saying "minimalist." And as it should be. The primary function is less about reading status messages and updates, and more about sending a quick, pre-programmed post on the go. The system can pull in hundreds of data points from the vehicle and navigation system, allowing you to update your status with location information, weather and a host of other data. Want to let your friends know when you'll be at the restaurant? The app can pull in your location and destination from the sat-nav and post an update saying you'll be there in 15 minutes. And if the pre-packaged responses aren't up to snuff, once you unhook the phone from the cradle, you can create your own canned responses and updates directly in the app, which also keeps track of vehicle mileage, service data and a handful of other useful bits of information.

When asked about future apps and possible partners, BMW says it's in talks with several other companies, many of whom have approached the automaker to port their programs into the system. That could mean that apps like OpenTable (restaurant reservations) and Fandango (movie times and ticketing) are just around the corner, and with Mini recently bringing MOG music streaming to its customers, integration with BMWs should be coming soon. The BMW engineers we spoke with are open to any and all ideas, so let them know what you want in our comments and they'll get cracking.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 15 Comments
      Mazdaspeed6
      • 3 Years Ago
      It's the first time together and I'm feeling kinda horny Conventional methods of makin love kinda bore me I wanna knock your block off, get my rocks off Blow your socks off make sure your G spots soft
        Wonderbar
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Mazdaspeed6
        I've got it now, but for a second I was like WTH?
      Fermat
      • 3 Years Ago
      Really? Facebook and Twitter in a car? There's no way this can go badly, right? As it is, selecting music from my iPod using iDrive is more distracting than I like. I love the idea of people choosing between reading the next update from their friend or checking their blind spot.
      Wonderbar
      • 3 Years Ago
      I'd like to suggest the "Shut up and drive" app.
      Tom L
      • 3 Years Ago
      why is this post sponsored by Lexus?
      Tom C
      • 3 Years Ago
      Can I ask a few of dumb design questions? One, in the top center portion of the screen, why is "LL Cool J" followed by an ellipses when "LL Cool J" is the artist's full name? Two, in the top right portion of the screen, why is "Entertainment d..." abbreviated when there's - oh, I don't know - three more inches available to the right? Three, why are "LL Cool J" and "Doin' It" listed as active apps? I guess I'm saying there's no such thing as too much attention to detail when it comes to UI design, and BMW doesn't seem to understand this.
      OptimusPrimeRib
      • 3 Years Ago
      I can't believe they have the song Doin' It shown.
      Tom C
      • 3 Years Ago
      By the way, when Cletus updates his Facebook feed while driving his X6 into the back of my car, I'm not going to just sue him, I'm going to sue BMW for putting a Facebook app in the dashboard of a car.
        Robdaemon
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Tom C
        Have you sued cosmetics companies for making cosmetics? I mean, women seem to like to apply them while driving. What about the LA Times? People seem to like to read the newspaper while driving around here. Cell phone companies too? MacDonalds because they sold someone an Egg McMuffin in their car?
      serter
      • 3 Years Ago
      I remember the good ol' days when BMW's were 'The Ultimate Driving Machine.' Now they're just techno-distraction devices for lazy-ass macchiato sipping douchebags. Sigh.
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      Shadowlayer
      • 3 Years Ago
      How long until some rich d-bag kills an entire family after updating his meaningless status while going at 120mph?
      Dogeatdog
      • 3 Years Ago
      Does ConnectedDrive support hands-free option? If yes - what about telephony information? Will it be translated on OEM screen?
      erhcanadian
      • 3 Years Ago
      If they want that much iPhone integration, why don't they just stick an iPhone dock on the dash and call it a day?
        Hernan
        • 3 Years Ago
        @erhcanadian
        I wish they'd just find a way to integrate an iPad into the dash as an OEM solution through partnership with Apple.
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