Driving the Future: BMW’s iDrive Brings the iPhone Directly to Your Dash

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The force of media has been moving into a fully mobile environment for years, and one of the main frotiers of this transitions is your car.  Most people have defined their driving experience with the music they listen to, but more recently the DVD player and even touch screen entertainment has become a standard functionality.  Now that the iPhone has brought portable media with you at all times since it is piggybacked on your ever present mobile phone, people have been demanding that there is a way to fully integrate the features of their iPhone with the facilitation of their car's computer system.  BMW is going to be doing this in fully force with their iDrive.

BMW's new iDrive feature should be seperated from things like iTrip or other devices that simply allow you to play or control your iPod features through your existing stereo.  Instead, BMW's iDrive actually allows you to integrate your iPhone and the software direclty into a monitor interaction on your car's dashboard.  This has been touted quite a bit because of the ability to tie into internet streaming radio and Pandora, but this is really only the beginning.

Beyond the obvious media playback you have the next obvious step for most iPhone users: social networking.  It may seem like a strange shift to begin integrating social networking tools like Facebook and Twitter into your car, but as laws come up that prevent even a quick glance at your mobile phone while driving this may be a permanent fixture. 

These apps are not shown as running fully independently through BMW's iDrive quite yet, but instead through BMW's own mobile apps.  With this you would then install the BMW app on your iPhone, plug into the center console, and then be given the integrated features through the available touch interface.  The services that are supported are those that BMW has included through this, but Pandora is a welcome feature and is running as a full third party application.  This gives definite precedense that this will not be just a BMW internal phenomenon that will only allow integration with BMW created software.

The music itself will always be the foundation with BMW's iDrive, and what is nice about this is that the visual interface has been transfered onto this display and you will be able to continue the features that you have become used to on your iPod play section.  Since iDrive is responsive to the output from your iPhone, this means that you will be able to provide updates to the playback simply from updates to your iPhone and not hardware or software changes in your car specifically, though this may not still be out of the question.

Though it is still in bet testing right now, BMW's iDrive looks as though it is going to mark the next stage in how mobile phones and modern vehicles are going to play off of one another.


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