On Monday Apple announced what many had been waiting for for years. No not a complete re-think of iOS but Apple ‘s long awaited iOS In Car. The idea is simple – plug an iPhone into your car and turn your car ‘s screen into a display for a automotive grade version of iOS. Great right? It ‘s an touch operating system everyone knows and one that tends to work well. But it ‘s not quite that simple for BMW and there are reports online that have BMW backing away from injecting iOS into their car ‘s infotainment system. Since BMW has invested in years and years of iDrive and the underlying tech and user controls associated with it simply flipping the switch on a touch based system isn ‘t really easy. But based on what we know that doesn ‘t mean BMW isn ‘t interested or hasn ‘t been working with Apple.
I think it ‘s generally the right thing to do for BMW to control the in-dash experience. But it would be interesting to see BMW and other automakers find a middle ground with Google and Apple. Wouldn ‘t it be great if I could plug in my iPhone or Android device when I click maps on my BMW it goes to the phone ‘s mapping software – controlled by the new iDrive touch interface so there ‘s no need for a dangerous touch-screen scenario. Same with music, phone and contacts as well. But at the same time I don ‘t want my phone trying to run my car. Frankly it ‘s impossible. Therefore iDrive could continue to control all the complexities of the car – something it ‘s particularly good at – leaving your iOS to handle what it ‘s good at.
Lets face it. the speed of software progress should be de-coupled from the car as much as possible. Software updates should be valid for 2-4 year old cars giving them new features and better user experience much like Apple has done with it ‘s iDevices. Given consumer ‘s increasingly high expectations of anything digital it ‘s a model that automakers need to embrace. Or to put it another way, the first one that does will be noticed.