BMW and Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) ensures networked driving
It wasn’t that long ago BMW revealed automated driving. Now, new products available in the Original BMW Accessories range enable the BMW driver to upgrade his existing vehicle with solutions and features to provide networked driving.
The BMW ConnectedDrive system now includes the BMW Car Hotspot from the Original BMW Accessories range which provides WLAN connectivity for Internet access while on the road; and BMW is making Apple products like the iPad and iPhone at the center of it.
The new range of Original BMW Accessories includes the BMW Station for the Apple iPhoneTM, the iPhone app BMW Link, the WLAN adapter BMW Car Hotspot and the BMW Apple iPadTM Station.
According to the BMW news release, these accessories provide additional, complementary opportunities to equip a BMW automobile with ConnectedDrive functionality, heightening (networked) driving pleasure still more. From now on, new innovative connectivity accessories will be available indulging the drivers of many of the current BMW models with the ability to take advantage of mobile Apple devices, securely and comfortably, in their vehicles.
Hotspot on the Road
The BMW Car Hotspot from the Original BMW Accessories range provides WLAN connectivity for Internet access while on the road. This innovative technology has been developed as an option that can be retrofitted to the vehicle to enable mobile devices such as smartphones, notebooks or the Apple iPadTM to connect to the Internet via WLAN; the online connection is made via the BMW Car Hotspot. The only thing necessary is a separate data SIM card, which is either placed in the snap-in adapter or in a smartphone with an SAP module (SIM Access Profile) in the vehicle.
The BMW Car Hotspot, together with its power supply, is integrated into the central armrest and is connected to the vehicle’s antenna. The roof-mounted antenna ensures a stable Internet connection, while reducing the level of radiation in the interior of the automobile.
The passengers in the BMW can now wirelessly surf the Internet during the journey using any mobile device with a WLAN interface, via the unrestricted, encrypted WLAN connection. The smooth, interruption-free handover when moving between the UMTS and GSM data networks ensures coverage of almost 100%. The BMW Car Hotspot has been on sale at all BMW Dealerships and BMW Service Partners since January, priced at Euro 399. It can be installed in all BMW model series, dependent upon the year of manufacture.
BMW 1 Series and BMW 3 Series from 9/2008; BMW 5 Series and BMW 6 Series from 11/2008, BMW X5 and BMW X6 from 10/2009; all other current models can be equipped with the BMW Car Hotspot without restriction.
Apple iPhone™ – perfectly integrated into the cockpit
The Apple iPhoneTM can now be perfectly integrated into the BMW cockpit positioned so that it is always in the driver’s field of view. The innovative “BMW Station for Apple iPhoneTM”, is a high-quality, multifunctional holder from the Original BMW Accessories range which guarantees safe, comfortable operation of the 3G, 3GS and 4 Apple iPhonesTM during the journey.
This attractively-designed holder for the Apple iPhoneTM is suitable for all BMW models which are not fitted with a display. It is available as an upgrade option for the current BMW 1 Series, the BMW 3 Series, the BMW Z4 as well as for the BMW X1 and BMW X3. It allows the owner of an iPhone to integrate it into the vehicle, to operate it during the journey and to use the smartphone as a substitute display.
At a price of Euro 199, the BMW Station for the Apple iPhoneTM allows the mobile device to connect into the vehicle’s audio system; it is also fitted with an integrated GPS receiver and a charger for the telephone – all this is achieved without any additional visible cabling. The integrated hands-free system, which includes a high quality directional microphone and automatic radio muting during telephone conversations and navigation announcements, ensures a perfect connection – ideal when combined with the separately available iPhone App “BMW Link“.
Tighter integration of the Apple iPhone™ into Infotainment
The BMW iPhone app BMW Link, developed by Original BMW Accessories, enables the driver to use the iPhone in the vehicle ergonomically and safely and is thus a perfect addition to the BMW Station for Apple iPhoneTM. The BMW Link app combines the Apple iPhoneTM functionality of the telephone and the music player with all of their features. These include hands-free conversation, access to the contacts and playlists stored on the device and the display of album covers.
There is also a fully-fledged navigation system as well as selected BMW ConnectedDrive services accessed via an optimized user interface. Navigation through the menu system and font size have been optimized for operation in the vehicle and all of the features are displayed in landscape format.
The driver has access to a multitude of additional services under the menu item “Connected Drive”. These include the Car Finder – when the telephone is removed from the BMW docking station, the current position of the vehicle is automatically stored – GoogleTM Local Search and Panoramio, which provides photographs of the destination, as well as specially tailored news and worldwide weather information. These services for networked driving, made available as an upgrade via the app, are rounded off by the accident hotline and the breakdown and recovery service, both extremely important safety features.
Since August 2011, the BMW Link app is available in various markets at no charge from the Apple App Store; it is fully functional during the 30-day trial period. Thereafter, the navigation feature can be permanently reactivated for a onetime payment of Euro 49.99. All of the other features remain fully-functional after the trial period has expired, at no charge.
Backseat passengers enjoy flexible use of the Apple iPad™
A special BMW Apple iPadTM Station has been developed by Original BMW Accessories to ensure that Apple iPadTM users in the automobile always have the network at their disposal. This station is a part of the Travel & Comfort System and is mounted to the back of a headrest, allowing passengers on the backseat optimal access to the Apple iPadTM.
At present, the holder for the first model of the Apple iPadTM is available; the version for the iPad2 will follow in the December 2011. The station is easily adjustable in a number of ways and flexibly adapts to the user’s needs. The Apple iPadTM can be used in both portrait and landscape modes by simply rotating and locking the station.
For office applications such as e-mail or Internet research, the BMW station can be pivoted down to “office mode” and inclined towards the user, in order to allow optimal use of the on-screen keyboard. For applications like watching films, the backseat passengers can position the Apple iPadTM at eye level in “movie mode”.
An attachable stand for using the holder outside of the vehicle, on a desk for example, is included in the package. The new BMW Apple iPadTM station is available since July 2011, supporting all of the features of the Apple iPadTM and in combination with the BMW Car Hotspot guarantees a constant, stable Internet connection. It is priced at Euro 125.
Full Disclosure: At time of publication, Sherosky, creator of the auto sector charts for TN, is neither long or short with the mentioned stocks or futures, though positions can change at any time. None of the information in this article constitutes a recommendation, but an assessment or opinion.
About the Reporter: After 39 years in the auto industry as a design engineer, Frank Sherosky now trades stocks, futures and writes articles, books and ebooks like, "Perfecting Corporate Character," "Awaken Your Speculator Mind", and "Millennial World Order" via authorfrank.com. He may be contacted here by email: [email protected] or via his Twitter i.d. @Authorfranks
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