iPod and the Multi-Function Steering Wheel Finally Connected




So you've got an iPod and the AUX port but now want to control the iPod with your Multi-function steering wheel. It looks like the audio company Dension has been working on this issue and has a solution. Reader Brian Moore has all the details:

As a follow-up to my earlier rumors from MINI USA accessory-development reps, Dension has just released news of an ICE-link control unit that will allow iPods to interface directly with MINI Boost and Wave decks (among others) and, best of all, to be controlled by the MFSW. Here's the official blurb from Dension:

“This version of ICE-Link is compatible with the Wave and Boost head units used in the BMW Mini. Dension ICE-Link for iPod is the ultimate car kit for your Apple mp3 player.

Compatible with both classic and 3rd generation iPods, ICE-Link for iPod routes iPod audio through the CD changer port and translates head unit key presses into remote control commands for the iPod giving access to FF/RW as if the iPod was an integrated component of your car hifi. First deliveries are scheduled for w/c 20 October. The ICE-Link for iPod interface is priced at £79.99 with an optional damage-free cradle mounting system (3rd generation iPods only) available for an additional £29.99.”

Exciting news! My '04 MCS and the new ICE-link should be arriving at about the same time: just got news that it's booked on the next ship to the US!!

Some more details on the forthcoming Dension ICE-Link gleaned from Lee Harris at ihavetohaveit.com. US distributors are currently being established, and should have inventory by early November with an estimated suggested retail price of $149 US (excluding applicable sales tax) for the interface and cradle. Dension is presently using the Brodit iPod cradle, but are working with Apple to (possibly) make the ICE-Link compatible with the Apple iPod dock. In addition to interfacing with the Boost/Wave factory decks (and many other aftermarket decks), the connector also provides AC power to the iPod. The MINI USA accessory development rep, Kevin, intonated to me that this unit would eventually become a dealer-installed option, although he could not specify a roll-out date.

Great news Brian!

  • Oh yeah. I want that REAL BAD.

  • nfo

    wooohooo… i can't wait to have a car to use this in, oh the irony! hehehehee

  • It states that it routes audio from the iPod to the head unit through the CD changer port – does this mean an AUX jack is not necessary if all I'm using is an iPod with this controller?

  • Mike

    I am also waiting to find out if you need the aux port or not before I get my iPod. And I guess I should wait for my car too, due in late October.

  • It's essentially a glorified AUX port that also provides power and information so that the multi-function steering wheel will control the iPod. So this would take the place of the current AUX port as it attaches to the head unit in the same place. BTW this also seems to mean that cars with '02 head units are out of luck – anyone have an '03 head unti they don't need 😉

  • Brian

    All necessary connectors are supplied with the ICE-link: no aux port required! Our MCS arrives in late October as well: can't wait!! Cheers, Brian

  • Christian Lallo

    Wait, Brian, when you say “All necessary connectors are supplied with the ICE-link: no aux port required!” do you mean that no “aux port adaptor cable for 2003 and later head units” is required or do you mean actually mean 'no aux port whatsoever, meaning that we 2002 owners are not excluded?” Thanks, Christian

  • Christian Lallo

    Good News!

    Well, I just received a response from, apparently, someone at Denision who has been reading and replying to posts in one of the forums at MINI2.com, and it looks like those of us that have 2002 models without the AUX port connector will still be able to use this. I asked if the Denison adaptor could be connected to the factory boot mounted connector for the CD changer and here was his reply

    Hi Christian

    We could connect at the prewire end but then we'd be running a cable to the front of the car to connect to the iPod. Much easier to connect behind the head unit (you simply unplug the existing connector that feeds the pre-wire cable and replace it with ours) and avoid 2 bus leads running the length of the car.

    Having a pre-wired car does not preclude you connecting stuff at the head unit end.



    So this is ideed good news for all of us “early adopters”

    BTW, Gabriel, great site. As a fellow graphic designer, I really appreciate the clean, functional aesthetic of it. My eyes always breathe a great big sigh of relief upon entering.

  • Thanks Christian – that's always great to hear. Especially from another designer.

    It's also great to hear that I can use this with my '02 MINI. Now to figure out what's the best way to run those wires up to the front…

  • Christian Lallo

    No, that's the great news Gabriel, you don't need to hook it up in the boot. You can just unplug the connector on the head unit that feeds the CD changer prewire. Apparently, the Denison unit will plug directly into the newly freed-up connector on the head unit.

    Of course if you already have the factory CD changer in the boot your, out of luck.


  • Yeah, in the diagram above it clearly shows that the Denison interface uses the existing CD changer input on the back of the head unit for audio, therefore the MINI aux input is not required.

    So you just unplug the CD changer wiring at the back of the head unit and plug in the Denison interface. That does mean however that you cannot use the Denison interface AND a CD changer.

    The Denison interface apparently intercepts the commands that the head unit would send to the CD changer as responses to button presses on the head unit or MFSW and converts them into commands that the iPod understands and passes them on to the iPod through the remote control input (ring around the headphone jack in old iPods, little slot to the side of the headphone jack in new iPods — or the Dock connector).

    If Denison had used the aux input for the audio, there would be no way to control the iPod since the aux input does not supply control commands to the devices attached to it — it's simply a dumb input.

    The cool thing about this is you can have your iPod permanently connected and still have the aux input free for audio from other devices, such as DVD players, game consoles, laptop computers, whatever. Neat 🙂

  • Sean your absolutely right. This product just keeps looking better and better.

  • Ray

    When and where can I get one? I already have my iPod.

  • averyocooper

    but the bad news is that if it pulls the audio from the ipod minijack output the sound is not as good as if it pulls from the firewire port (like the belkin charger) and you will have to crank the onboard ipod volume level really high.
    how about a solution that uses the firewire for audio out and still has the remote connection?

  • Brian

    Avery–The sound quality output from the iPod minijack and firewireport port is identical, the only difference being that the former has the capacity to modulate the amplitude of the signal, but this volume control does not degrade the sound quality. The only downside is the relative inconvenience of plugging two vs one connector to the iPod. For me, this is a trivial inconvenience, especially in light of the ability to control the player via the MFSW. Neverthess, Dension is presently addressing even this minor issue: they are working towards allowing the use of a single, Apple dock-like connector. However, I for one won't bother waiting for this development: it's already awesome as is!

  • Any photos of the unit in car? I would order the cradle too but no idea what it looks like or where its placement is.

    Probably impossible, but a REALLY cool feature would be for the headunit to display the currently playing song on the iPod too.

  • Brian

    James–I've been bugging Lee for photos, and will post when/if I get any. Apparently, the other feature you mentioned is not exactly impossible. Kevin (the acc. dev't rep) told me that they are developing this feature for cars equiped with the Sirius satelite radio option. However, it was my understanding that this would not be available to those of us with the factory Boost/Wave decks. If you do a google search for 'Brodit cradle' you can get an idea of what the iPod cradles will look like. Not crazy about them myself, but I plan to install mine in the glove box anyway.

  • Jordan

    im wondering if this is the best solution, i like Jame's idea of a headunit, and i thought blitzsafe and apple were teaming up on this in the future?

    anyways the dension one sounds cool… but im unsure of how it works? does it not use the AUX input at all?? how does it hook up?? cost? when available? etc? i cant wait to see how it works when people actually put in their cars, keep us updated, and please email me if u can explain it better!

  • Tom

    can somebody tell me what type (Boost or Wave) the Harmon Kardon factory Mini stereo is? This is a must have for me…

  • Marcus

    I am still confused,,,, If I have the Harmon Kardon system and the changer and the Sirrius radio,,,, can I use any of the configurations mentioned here???

  • This takes the cd changer output on the back of the radio and re-routes it for use with an iPod. It also allows the MFSW to control the iPod like it would a cd changer.

  • Stuart

    I plan on buying this device. Can anyone tell me if I can still install an aux jack to hook up a Delphi XM unit?

  • Jason

    Tom -> If you're still looking for an answer, the HK system is part of the Boost radio (in my MINI at lleast).

    Stuart -> the ice-Link is hijacking the prewiring for the cd-changer, so yes, you can still install an aux jack.


  • Bob

    Happy holidays. I just found this ipod link and this hookup sounds great. But I have one question. I have the navigatation system installed on my '03 Mini-S. Can I install the ice-Link in my Mini??? Bob

  • Tino

    A fairly new iPod owner here and can't put it down. I too want the convenience of my Pod in my Mini, controlled by the steering wheel controls and whatever new perks there are for this connection. One question, will I still be able to use my in-dash cd player to it's full capability as well? Where are people mounting their iPods? Guess that's 2 questions…thanks.

  • joe

    lm trying to find the aux input wiring to connect a DVD player to my 2004 M3 can anyone tell me where & which wire l should be looking for.