Apple has been working for years with automobile manufacturers to get iPod docking technology offered as standard equipment in new vehicles, but when Apple initially announced a new feature in iOS 4 called iPod Out, nobody was certain how it would be used. Today, the intention is clear: BMW has announced it will be adopting iPod Out as a means to put a user’s iPod/iPhone interface on future BMW and Mini main displays, enabling users to control their iPhone or iPod completely from their vehicle controls without messing with the Apple device itself. And that control will include access to the Genius feature and the ability to create custom playlists.
BMW touts the iPod Out interface as a way for BMW vehicles to adopt more quickly to changes and advances in Apple’s iPhone and iPod platform—where used might replace their mobile phones, say, every year and a half, folks tend to hold on to cars for a lot longer—which means that, over time, the cars become incapable of supporting new mobile technology.
iPod Out will require an iPhone 3G, 3GS, iPhone 4, or iPod touch (second or third generation) running iOS 4. BMW has not indicated when it plans to introduce car models with iPod Out technology, or whether it will be a standard feature or factory option. There’s also no word on whether existing BMW or Mini vehicles will be able to be upgraded to support iPod Out.