BMW, the renowned German luxury automotive marque, has gone a step further by allowing customers to access iPhone apps through their car dashboards, such as Audible, Glympse, Rhapsody and TuneIn Radio. The idea is to provide maximum technology on the dashboard so that customers do not have to engage with their devices while driving. Commenting on the same, Product Manager for the BMW Group Apps Platform, Phil Johnston, said, “We regularly identify apps that our owners rely on as part of their everyday life, and adapt them for an in-vehicle experience they'll find safe, useful and engaging.”
Apps can be configured with the BMW i-Drive system User Interface and can be used through the i-Drive knob. Various provisions include accessing Facebook and Twitter updates, upcoming calendar appointments, standard phone and contact book apps and listen to music through Pandora or Stitcher. All apps can be added to BMW vehicles manufactured in and after 2011, as part of the software package. Interestingly, there is also a Last Mile app, which can locate BMW vehicles in crowded parking spaces. The advantage of new apps like Rhapsody is that music becomes easily available in convenient formats. TuneIn Radio allows streaming of internet radio through the stereo system. In addition, Johnston also said' “Integrating access to digital spoken-word content from Audible was the next logical way to expand audio entertainment for drivers. The ability to use the Glympse app from the existing vehicle controls enables drivers to share their whereabouts and ETA in a much safer way."
As per reports, working of the new BMW apps is different from Ford's SYNC system. SYNC works on the basis of voice recognition set up, while some packages also aid in accessing phone applications. Further, the Ford software is capable of integrating with a variety of mobile operating platforms such as iOS, Android and Blackberry. Interestingly, BMW has not commented whether Smartphones other than the iPhone can be used or not. New apps would have to be updated with BMW Connected Apps before usage in the car, but when these updates would arrive is not certain at the moment. However, one would hope that BMW takes a leaf out of the Ford SYNC and provides compatibility for other mobile platforms as well, for it to become a complete entertainment package.