MacMinute has managed to get a hold of the actual ad that will launch this new product. Here's an excerpt from the ad copy:
“The first seamless integration of iPod and automobile. Connect with your music like never before. With the installation of an integrated adapter developed by BMW and Apple — now available for the BMW 3 Series, X3 and Z4 — you can control your iPod through the existing audio system and multi-function steering wheel. Which means no loss of power. No loss of sound quality. And no loss of control.”
Update: We just received the actual part numbers for the Apple iPod connector for the MINI!
Part Number: 65 11 0 392 138 / Description: IPOD I/F ADAPTER MINI
Part Number: 65 11 0 392 139 / Description: IPOD I/F KIT MINI ADAPTER
Part Number: 65 11 0 393 656 / Description: IPOD I/F CABLE
According to our source “These parts are listed in MINI's internal ordering system. The entire kit will retail for $149 plus installation. Great news.
It's great to see this story confirmed as we've been reporting on the possibility for almost a month now!
Update 2: Gadget weblog Gizmodo has some further scoop on the Apple and BMW joint venture to integrate the iPod into the sound system of late model BMWs and presumable MINIs. They are reporting (via an internal source) that only 2002 or later BMWs and only cars with the standard or stock cd players will be able to take advantage of this product. That means a “car with optional built-in Navigation system, cassette deck, satellite radio, or CD change won't be able to use it.” It's assumed that these requirements also affect the MINI as well.
They go on to say that installation charges are bring quote at around $235. This, assuredly, is without the actual hardware. Here are some further excerpts from the article:
The iPod slips inside a dock in the glove box and controls are on the steering wheel, and they look to be pretty basic, with only an track up/track down selection and what looks to be a mute button. BMW asks that you create five selectable BMW-specific playlists (probably something like the ones I made in my iTunes picture to the right) on your iPod which are controlled by the 1 through 5 button on the dash, while selecting 6 will play through your entire iPod library. This implies you won't have as much control over your iPod as you would with its native interface. If that's the case, that will be a serious ding against the usefulness of the kit.
If this account is correct this device would be a fairly short sighted implementation of iPod integration. Honestly I'd rather have my ICE-Link or the soon to be released Alpine unit that allows the iPod to be accessed and navigated rather than stowed in the glove box. With 40 gigs of music and 25-30 playlists I can't imagine using my iPod in the way referred to above. It perhaps would work for someone with only 5-10 gigs of music but I would assume they wouldn't be the ones shelling out the big bucks for this kit anway. I think the ideal solution, and perhaps the one everyone was waiting for, would be something that replicates the iPod interface within the controls of the stereo or the steering wheel itself. That being said, I suppose it's probably best to withhold judgment until we get these things in our hands.