Earlier this year BMW showed off early prototypes of the next generation iDrive system controlled by both a typical rotary dial and touchscreen controls. It was the first time BMW has ever officially hinted at the use of the use of a touch screen and it’s further evidence that some new BMW soon will usher in a new generation infotainment.
Last week, [Autocar](http://www.autocar.co.uk/car-news/new-cars/bmw-working-new-touchscreen-infotainment-system) published a series of quotes from Adrian van Hooydonk, BMW Group Director of Design regarding the possible addition of touchscreens to BMW’s infotainment system. From his perspective, touchscreens will be progressively appearing in BMW cars, starting with “i” models, in the form of curved surfaces that will complement the existing rotary controller.
These direct quotes from Adrian van Hooydonk are exciting because they further confirm what our sources have been telling us for the past four years: the BMW Group is working on touchscreen technology and it will become available in BMWs and MINIs in the future. Stepping back and looking at what [BMW also announced at CES](http://www.theverge.com/2015/1/6/7499437/bmw-touch-command-tablet-samsung-gestures-ces-2015), drivers will soon be able to interact with an infotainment system through a combination of voice, gesture and touch controls. However, it is difficult to say at this point if such a mix of technologies will gain traction among buyers given the steep learning this might represent for non-technology savvy individuals.
While the MINI and BMW labs must be working on fascinating ways to make our lives better, I question the use of curved touchscreens. It’s not that curved touchscreens don’t make sense, but touchscreens in cars – regardless of the car brand – have been pretty terrible so far compared to what’s found on Apple devices. So the move to curved touchscreens, while Apple has yet to release a fully curved-glass device, is quite “unexpected.”