iPod and BMW solution a crude first try

“It sometimes seems like the whole world is plugged into Apple Computer’s iPod digital music players. You see the iPod’s distinctive white earbuds on the street, and in buses, trains and planes. But there’s one place in America where the iPod has difficulty going: the automobile,” Walter S. Mossberg reports for The Wall Street Journal.

“Now, Apple has joined forces with the German luxury car maker BMW to solve this problem. The two companies have come up with an integrated system for plugging an iPod into a BMW and streaming its music through the car’s audio system. It’s called the BMW iPod Adapter, and is available for $149, plus installation costs, on any 2002-2004 BMW 3 Series model, Z4 Roadster, or X3 and X5 SUVs. Some specific BMW configurations can’t use the adapter,” Mossberg reports. “BMW and Apple aren’t just any two companies. They are widely imitated corporate icons, known far and wide for their design and engineering skills. So, you’d think their joint effort at mating the iPod and the car would be a brilliant, smashing success. But you’d be wrong.”

Full article here.


  1. It’s BMW’s fault. For those who didn’t know, they use Microsoft software embedded into various chips that run the car including navigation and stereo control. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”grin” style=”border:0;” />

  2. If I could get an in-car kit for my Toyota Hi-Lux I’d definintly buy (and pay ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”grin” style=”border:0;” /> for one.

  3. “For all its limitations, the BMW adapter is a welcome development. But it’s frustrating that the car industry can’t do better.”

    At least he places the responsibility for its crudeness appropriately — on the car industry, not Apple.

  4. I can imagine the adverts they’d show in Britain. “Wire your iPod to your South London Cortina”. Now if a prestige brand (think Audo or Saab) worked with Apple on this, they would do it right first time, no wishy washy half measures.

  5. You know, I have a 2003 330xi, and I wanted to buy this thing, but I went to the dealership and they sold me just a cable to plug into the back of the stereo. It then mounts in the glove box, and my ipod plugs right into it. It’s user installable, cost me $40, and my ipod plugs right into it. It’s compatible with all generations of ipods, it just simply doesn’t charge the ipod, and I can’t change my playlists from the stereo.

    Fine by me. It sounds great and I love it.

  6. Read this somewhere….

    First level of integration: Steering wheel buttons control volume and fwd / back.

    Second level of integration: iPod screen mirrored in the navigator screen — full playlist navigation while driving

    Third level of integration: Wirelessly synch’ your car’s built-in iPod [optional extra] from your comp or your iPod.

    Fourth level of integration: plug your butt to the car and it drives itself and blows music outta your ears.

  7. They should figure out how to have the iPod display come up on the dashboard or in the middle of the steering wheel. Maybe even have a scroll wheel right in the middle of the steering wheel? Not THAT would be cool.

    Maybe BMW could license it and use it for controling more than the iPod too.

  8. My Nissan Sentra came with an auxiliary input on the factory stereo. I just plup the iPod into that with a mini to mini cable from Radio shack. Cheaper than a BMW.

  9. Alpine, which makes the BMW radios, is supposed to be incorporating the capability of connecting the iPod into some of their retail products. If you are either in the process of buying a new radio or “just can’t wait” to get you iPod connected check them out.

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