updated 06:00 pm EST, Mon February 22, 2010
Semi-tough Mini car will get native iPhone apps
BMW's sub-label Mini today revealed that the 2011 Mini Countryman will be one of the first cars to have tight app-level integration with the iPhone. The semi-rugged compact will have an optional central computing system known as Mini Connected that will tie into Apple's handset through two native apps. At its simplest, a "web radio" app will use the iPhone's 3G connection to reach any one of a set list of Internet radio stations; the car's center column display will give control over radio stations using the Countryman's own interface.
Showing up alongside the radio feature will be a Mission Control feature that first appeared in the Mini 50 Camden. While it won't depend on the iPhone to work, connecting the smartphone will let it pull weather and other live information in addition to providing offline data like the current conditions of the car or alerts.
Mini hasn't priced the option or said whether there will be any delay for 2011 models ordered with Mini Connected. Other variants of the car should receive the upgrade in the future.