updated 08:25 pm EST, Wed December 22, 2010
Mini Connected for iOS now in App Store
BMW's Mini badge this week quietly took its Mini Connected app (free, App Store) live for the iPhone. The long in development app gives any 2011 Mini with the Connected system access to phone features often tied into the car's own control stack. Internet radio pulled over 3G routes through the audio system, while RSS news feeds and Twitter can appear on the car display or (for news) spoken aloud on a Mini with voice control enabled.
Google integration is newly added in time for the launch. Built-in access to Google Maps helps find directions but also push them to the car if it has built-in GPS. A live analytical tool will compare acceleration, braking and shifting habits and gives points for efficient driving. It now uses the iPod Out system and both displays a more device-specific interface and promises futureproofing compared to earlier Apple-to-car methods.
The Connected app works with any device that supports iOS 4.2 and integrates with the car through a USB port. A BMW Connected equivalent is already available (free, App Store) but will need a BMW car with the 6NR option package already loaded, which won't be an option until March.