Update: After updating my iPhone to the newly released 1.11 software released today, it suddenly works perfectly with MINI’s bluetooth. Despite having tested it previously with two different iPhone software versions and it not working, could it have been Apple’s fault all along? I’ll be checking a couple other iPhones this weekend.

Recently we’ve heard reports of iPhone integration becoming rather messy after MINI’s most recent software update. Unfortunately I now have some first-hand proof of just that.

Since my 2007 MINI’s software was updated a few weeks ago, my iPhone’s synced phone book as gone from a normal phone book with names and numbers to a short list of impossibly long numbers with no names attached. So instead of seeing categories like A, B, C etc.. the phone book only has 4, 5, 6. And each of those categories house dozens of meaningless numbers (each starting with 4, 5, or 6) that are around 20 digits long. This has obviously made the phone book unusable for actually making calls. Dialing still works as well as actually receiving numbers but dialing using the Nav’s joystick while driving isn’t recommended.

After initially thinking Apple’s latest iPhone software update may have been at fault (I had just updated to 1.02 when I got my car back with the updated software), I tested another iPhone that had been working flawlessly in the car with the original 1.0 software. The result was the same, a completely useless phone-book. Since that time, this issue has been verified by a couple MF readers as well.

MINI has stated clearly that they will have official iPhone integration coming in the ’08 model year. And it remains to be seen if that software will be retrofittable to ’07 cars. However I do think it’s rather unacceptable for the feature to be there (even unofficially) and then completely removed. One has to wonder if it’s related to MINI bringing the official solution to market and wanting to make a clear distinction between ’07 and ’08 cars? If so that would be as bad as a software company going out of their way to cripple older software. I for one hope that’s not the case.

So let’s hear from those out there with the same iPhone integration issue. We need to make sure MINI is aware of the issue and is willing to deal with it. And it shouldn’t be too difficult as it had worked flawlessly for months.

And for the folks from MINI who are reading this right now. Hit that forward button on your corporate email program and get this information to the people who need to know about it. Your help above all would be greatly appreciated!

For those wondering, these issues do not impact the iPhone’s ability to interface with the optional iPod connection.