“iPod Out” was one of the new iOS 4 APIs mentioned at Apple’s preview event back in April, but no one quite knew what it was meant for — until last week, when BMW Group announced that it had integrated iPod Out into its newest BMW and Mini vehicle entertainment systems.
So what is iPod Out? From BMW Group’s press photos and description, the API allows car manufacturers to integrate the iPod Classic OS look and controls into a vehicle’s on-board entertainment system. Owners of future BMW and Mini models will be able to control their iPod or iPhone fully from the car’s interface controls. In addition, users will have access to their device’s Genius feature and be able to make custom playlists.
BMW Group seems all too happy to use this API, stating that “future vehicles equipped with this technology will be able to adapt more quickly to the software lifecycles of iPod touch and iPhone.” (Here’s hoping this will mean the end of terrible custom iPod music UIs and messages like “iPod/iPhone not supported” when you plug in your newest iOS device.)
BMW Group hasn’t outlined any specific timeline for integration, but notes that support will be coming to future BMW models using BMW ConnectedDrive and Mini models using Mini Connected. Customers who wish to use the iPod Out feature in new BMW Group cars need to have an iPhone or iPod touch running iOS 4.0 or later.