As Apple and major carmakers become entwined in an every-tightening silicon embrace, the Apple Watch looks set to enter the sphere of automotive connectivity.
BMW is adapting its i Remote car-control app for the Apple Watch, and says it will be available on the new device as it ships.
The BMW i Remote Apple Watch app is a watch-specific version of the smartphone app already available for BMW’s two green “i” models – the i3 electric car and the i8 plug-in hybrid.
From the start screen, owners can check a car’s state of charge, or dive into a menu for other vehicle information, including whether the doors are locked, or whether the sunroof or rear hatch is open.
Swiping right from the start screen opens up the Remote Services features, which allows owners to remotely adjust the climate control while the car is being charged. BMW only allows the system to operate this way so that power isn’t drawn from the car’s battery, cutting range.
The owner can also remotely honk the car’s horn to find it in a parking lot, or just to scare pedestrians.
Another option for finding a lost car is the intermodal route planning feature, which can retrace a person’s steps back to the car.
This feature works in concert with the in-car navigation system to provide door-to-door route planning. If the driver has to park a significant distance from their final destination, the app can continue direction prompts through the Apple Watch.
Another possible use for this feature is to incorporate mass transit or walking into a route plan to save time in the event of traffic, or to save energy by minimizing the distance driven.
Just as the i Remote app allows the dashboard’s navigation display to follow the owner wherever he or she goes, the service alert feature does the same with the dashboard’s idiot lights.
The app can flash maintenance reminders directly to an Apple Watch, making them harder to ignore. Drivers of the all-electric i3 will be thankful their cars require so little regular maintenance.
The BMW i Remote app is available to download for free from the iTunes Store.