An iPod for the Car Starts with BMW

By Richard Menta 6/23/04

Apple today introduced a special adapter for BMW that will integrate the company's leading iPod digital music player into the German manufacturers auto lineup.

The adapter plugs the iPod and iPod Mini into a connector located inside the glove boxes of BMW's latest model 3 Series, Z4 Roadster, X3 and X5 sports utility vehicles and the Mini Cooper.

The 128MB Philips PSA MP3 player for the gym is available on Amazon

A single connecting cable feeds music to the stereo while supplying power to the iPod unit, which would then become slave to the BMW's music system. The car's normal stereo controls and the display controls the iPod, while the player itself is tucked neatly away in the glove box.

The controls are basic. Drivers will be able to raise and lower the volume and scan through the songs. Users can also assemble up to five BMW playlists they uniquely compile for the road. Presently, limitations on the car's stereo display prevent it from displaying the song names, only track number will be shown. Apple CEO Steve Jobs in his comments on the product says that it is something that Apple and BWM are looking to overcome.

“Apple and BMW have outpaced the industry around the innovation curve," said Jobs, in the company press release. "This elegant solution enables auto enthusiasts to carry with them and enjoy their entire music collection everywhere they go, heightening their ultimate driving experience."

The introduction of this adapter spotlights the auto market as next area of growth for Apple's iPod line, which recently spun off into its own division. Car stereo's that play MP3 laden CDs are growing in popularity, but we are yet to see a successful hard drive based unit to arrive. This is the next product we predict from Apple, a complete built-in AM/FM/MP3 stereo unit for automobiles. It is a very promising market that Apple can quickly become dominant in, as it has with its portable players and iTunes service.

An "iPod Car" might also appear in the aftermarket automobile audio equipment arena and soon rival the Kenwood and Pioneer brands for market share.

We predict that such a unit will come within the year and that it will utilize the same Microdrive technology found in the iPod Mini. The reason is because that tiny drive can easily be passed between the unit and the home PC.

The BMW adapter for the iPod and iPod Mini costs $149 and will be available at BMW centers on July 12. The adapter for the Mini Cooper will retail for the same price and will be available later this summer. There will be an additional $149.00 installation cost. The iPod is presently only available for installation in 2002 - 2004 models.

For more information go to


The 256MB Rio Cali is available on Amazon


Other MP3 stories:
iTunes on a roll in the UK

Beastie Boys DRM Flak
Apple and Real - A Few Thoughts

Back to