|Just a day after Chevrolet debuted a commercial promoting its Siri "Eyes-Free" integration, BMW on Tuesday added support for integration of four iOS apps in new BMW models. Audio books app Audible, Internet radio tuner TuneIn, subscription music service Rhapsody and location-sharing crowdsource app Glympse now work with selected BMW entertainment systems, bringing audiobooks, subscription and Internet radio stations and other functions to the automobiles. BMW first began iOS integration in model year 2011.
"We regularly identify apps that our owners rely on as part of their everyday life, and adapt them for an in-vehicle experience they'll find safe, useful and engaging," said Product Manager for BMW Group Apps Platform Phil Johnston. "Audible, Glympse, Rhapsody and TuneIn were natural additions to the family of 'BMW Apps Ready' apps." He added that integrating access to audiobook provider Audible was "the next logical way to expand audio entertainment for drivers." The announcement marks the first time the service has agreed to be bundled into an automaker's entertainment system.
In addition, the use of Glympse allows drivers to inform friends and family of their location and estimated time of arrival in a manner considered safer than attempting to communicate the information by voice conversation. Rhapsody offers subscription plans for streaming music, and TuneIn delivers live talk, music and sports stations from around the world. All four apps are "fully integrated," meaning drivers can control the apps from controls on the steering wheel or console of the car.
The BMW Apps option is available in 2001 and later BMW models. Using the free BMW Connected app from the App Store, drivers can access Twitter and Facebook updates, locate their parked vehicle, unlock doors, and stream other audio services such as Pandora and Stitcher, as well as control a number of other iPhone functions through the iDrive controller, steering wheel buttons or on-board monitor.
The automaker will demo the full suite of BMW Approved Apps at the New York International Auto Show on March 27 and 28. The BMW services are also available for the Mini Cooper line of vehicles. The named applications will need to release updates before the apps are compatible with the BMW Apps framework. No announcement about Android app integration has yet been made.