Starting this month, all BMWs will be available with a new piece to the iDrive infotainment system: BMW Apps. It is an add-on to the BMW ConnectedDrive system that includes BMW Assist roadside assistance and adds full mobile device functionality through iDrive.
BMW Apps fully integrates an iPhone into the car. Once snapped into a cradle in the center console and the free iPhone application (BMW Connected) is started up, drivers can control the iPod, Facebook, and Twitter capabilities of their phones. Within the Twitter and Facebook modes, full newsfeeds are viewable and a text-to-speech mode will read posts aloud while in motion. Drivers can choose from pre-composed updates to post that integrate the car’s location, ambient temperature, and current song playing. Also available are streaming online radio and Pandora radio integration. Separate from the internet connectivity capabilities of the software is the LineOut function, which treats the iPhone like an iPod with an Apple-designed interface on the iDrive screen.
BMW Apps will also continue any navigation directions that had been input into the car’s navigation system on the phone once it has been removed from the car, and will lead you to your destination on foot. Working in tandem with this feature is a car locator, so there will never be another time when your BMW is lost in the mall parking lot.
BMW Apps is now available on all BMW model lines as a $250 stand-alone option; the prices for the device cradles vary depending on generation of iPhone.