iPhone 5 and What it Means for MINI

BMW and MINI have both diversified their smartphone integration that started with iOS to include the Android platform. Yet the iPhone and iOS remain the most important mobile platform for either brand. So it only makes sense for us (and many of you) to take note when Apple releases a completely new iPhone. Especially one that includes a new connector. So what does it mean for current an future MINI owners? Read on to find out.

First off it means your current iPhone dock (yes that $200 accessory you may have bought for your armrest) will not work with the iPhone 5. We’ve been assured by MINI that an update to the part should be coming in early 2013. What about the “Y” cable that connects your phone to the USB port in the car? Again that’s expected late this year or early next. But the good news on that front is that Apple will sell you (for a slightly eye-watering $30) an adapter that converts the previous iPhone/iPod connector to the new lightening connector standard on all new iPhones and iPods.

Speaking of iPods the new Nano has gained the all important Bluetooth option. For the first time this will allow the Nano to stream music wirelessly to any BMW or MINI that supports streaming audio via Bluetooth.

One thing to note; MINI and BMW Connected will not be affected by the upgrades to the iPhone or the iPod Touch. However neither will run on the iPod Nano.

  • MichaelB

    Are you sure about BMW & MINI Connected not being affected by the upgraded connector? The 30pin to Lightning connector supports Analog Audio out, but not iPod Out and doesn’t Connected rely on iPod Out to interface with the iPhone and iPod?

    • Three things:

      • It was thought that the adapter didn’t support iPod out. HOWEVER Apple has confirmed it does. – The standard lightening cord does and that will be the connector you’ll use in the F56 (and current BMWs). – MINI Connected doesn’t rely on IPod Out unless you’re using the very specific iPod out feature to play music.

      via mobile

      • Kurtster

        Thanks for confirming what I said below, gabriel. This will be a non-issue for iPhone 5 users with a MINI. There’s a lot of misinformation out there and loads of Apple haters fueling the rumors because they’ve invested in Droid and want Apple to fail, which only serves to confuse people who are using iO devices. i was ordering my iPhone 5 this weekend and some customer next to my at Best Buy standing there with his samsung phone said, “Do you know it uses a whole new connector on it? I heard it isn’t going to be compatible with anything.” Whatever… Using the new adaptor with an iPhone 5 it will be as if nothing changed at all. Most people buying a MINI with MINI Connected won’t have an iPhone 5 anyway. Years from now, all of this connectivity will be done wirelessly so the connector change is barely going to register as a speed bump where connectivity is concerned. So you have to use an adaptor if you’re an early adopter. No big deal.

      • Lee

        Are you certain of this? On the adaptor description on the Apple site it still says plainly that it does not support iPod out. There was confusion amongst members of the press that it meant there was no analog audio out and that was corrected, but I see nothing that leads me to think this feature is supported.

      • Extremely concerned about this issue. Was Apple’s confirmation to you, personally? Obviously once someone is actually rocking an iPhone 5 and the Y cable + Apple adapter, we’ll see where we really are.

  • Axtell71

    The adapter is not guaranteed to work with anything other than power. Period. Apple conveniently left that part out of their presentation. The old 30 pin was an analog connector, the new one is digital, so its highly likely that a HUGE number of devices are going to be left out in the cold, which is exactly why relying on physical connectors over wireless ones is a terrible idea.

    • Kurtster

      That information simply is not true. I worked for the largest manufacturer of music-based iPhone/iPad accessories for five years. The current 30-pin connector has both digital and analog I/O. The new “Lightning” connector, when used with Apple’s new adaptor should be compatible with nearly all 30-pin accessories. Exceptions will be the rarity. Apple does not “Leave people out in the cold”. To the contrary they are exceptionally good at making seamless transitions to new technologies that orphan their old ones in subsequent releases. This change to a new connector will be painless for the vast majority of iPhone users.

      • MichaelB

        Seamless? As I sit here looking at the old Firewire iPod cable sitting on my desk and remember how Apple handled that, I’d hardly say Apple doesn’t leave people out in the cold… Especially as I remember how many iPod accessories I had to toss in the trash when Apple – without telling anybody turned off ALL firewire support on their iPods without changing the connector, so nobody knew there was an issue until the new iPods dropped and didn’t work with most accessories out there, because at the time most docks, speakers, and adapters that used the 30 pin standard utilized the Firewire configuration for charging the iPod…. That silent switch cost me around $300 as I replaced accessories that Apple decided to quietly obsolete – plus it then became a guessing game to figure out what would work and what wouldn’t since even the accessory folks didn’t even know that Apple was rolling out that change… I believe that was in 2004 or 2005… Although I’ll give them credit for learning from that mistake and telling us the following year that they were going to kill off audio out via Firewire when they did the next iPod update…

        And before you lump me as one of the “Apple haters fueling the rumors because they’ve invested in Droid and want Apple to fail,” I’m typing this on my Mac Pro which is charging my iPhone4 and I have an iPhone5 on order. While I do think that most of the products that Apple makes are superior to their competition, I do think that the forced upgrade death march they have their customers on is more draconian than most manufacturers – including Microsoft.

        • OK, so they switched from FW to USB back in 04~05. It’s 2012. It’s been over 7 years on the newer standard, that’s not a forced death march, that’s equity in an old connector that if they behaved as you say they do, they’d have changed after 2 or three years. Or like Android manufacturers do every other week, it seems.

          I’m always amazed how Apple fans so frequently hold them to impossible expectations.

        • MichaelB

          It is a forced death upgrade death march that’s shorter than most when my two year old quad core Xeon Mac Pro can’t do AirPlay mirroring – supposedly because it doesn’t have the horsepower…

          More than that lets look at how many Apple last gen products don’t have the functionality of their current gen products – not because the products are incapable (because third party add ons and jailbraking make it possible) but because Apple wants to encourage people on to 12 month upgrade cycles….

          When you roll out software that doesn’t fully support what was your flagship hardware just 6 months earlier – that’s a rapid forced upgrade death march. That’s actually something that hasn’t happened with Android (but it did happen with the latest version of Windows Phone). That’s a cycle that’s common to Apple, not so much with everybody else who at least waits for a full generation of hardware to pass before rolling out features that aren’t backwards compatible.

          The fact is IOS6 is the first revision to the OS since V2 of the Iphone OS that didn’t exclude the previous model from features. Apple doesn’t like supporting iPods/iPhones more than 2 years old (only so that they can get into the low end phone market otherwise it would be 1 year) and computers more than 3 – the trouble is, unlike on the PC side of the house which is useless after 2, Apple gear is built well enough that it could have a 5+ year lifespan….

        • “That’s actually something that hasn’t happened with Android” Except all those Android phones that can never have their operating systems upgraded…. EVER.

          And as far as the “Death March” goes, it’s a $200 phone. After a year and a half you’ve stopped paying the subsidies off to the carrier, and the carrier is getting all the profit. If you’re not upgrading your phone every 2 years you’re just paying AT&T or whoever to screw you on unreasonable rates. No one supports phones that are more than 2 years old, and as I said above, most Android phones can never ever ever be upgraded past what they ship with.

          It’s a phone, it’s disposable. And really, $100 a year is cheap in the grand scheme of things. The hardware is essentially negligible, since you’re paying for services more than anything else with a phone. That’s why you can get last years’ models for free with contracts. The phone companies know this, it’s their entire business model.

          To complain about a connector changing after more than 7 years of service though is ridiculous. And I’m rounding down for the firewire vs USB conversion, since they went to docks in 2003. It’s 2012. Things change. Computers are works in progress.

          The car companies recognized that Lighting is the new connector for the next 10 years and are skating to where the puck is going, rather than to where it’s been.

        • MichaelB

          Read everything I post – not the pieces that sound good to you…. Better yet read the post that started this… The comment was made that “Apple doesn’t leave people out in the cold”

          And it’s a load of crap. Just that fact that they’re changing a standard that’s been in place for 7+ years, a standard that built industries around it. And the adapter that Apple is releasing – even Apple isn’t clear on just what the heck it does, as the store said that iPod Out (which is what most car adapters use to emulate iPod controls on their displays) wasn’t supported. Apple has since changed that copy to just say that some accessories aren’t supported…

          Then again, is a standard used by just 1 manufacturer really a standard?

          Better yet, why didn’t Apple use the existing MicroUSB standard? The one that’s required for all phones sold in Europe, which as a result Apple has to create a special Lightning to MicroUSB adapter for just for the European market? A standard that’s required by law in Europe specifically to stop manufacturers from randomly changing their adapters just because they felt like it.

          As for not supporting two year old phones – the iPhone 4 is now over two years old, and Apple is still selling it – THEY BETTER BE SUPPORTING IT!!!

          And my issue isn’t even so much the “$200 phone” that you are talking about (although I wish I was so rich that I was ok with considering a $200 item disposable). It’s my $2k+ unsubsidized computer that’s just 2 years old and can’t take advantage of built in functionality in Apple’s OS. Yet if I pay a third party developer $10 I can get that functionality via an app… Of course that’s after I tell the OS’s Sandbox to stop blocking the app…

      • Axtell71

        Apple doesn’t leave people out in the cold? Are you kidding? They had ample opportunity to join the rest of the world and utilize a micro USB cable, but nope, they didn’t. Not only did they go the Sony route and utilize a proprietary connector, but they added an ‘authentication’ chip to it to make things even more complicated for the aftermarket. If you don’t think apple delights in leaving people out in the cold then you truly are either blind to the facts or blind in your iLove.

        • Kurtster

          Cry me a river. There are literally thousands of accessories that use Apple’s connector, which does a lot more than USB. Try getting your Android phone to use Numark’s iDJ3 or Akai Pro’s Synthstation25 or getting your Samsung whatever tablet to use 1/4″ audio cables or a guitar in a music studio like the Alesis iO Dock and AmpDock let iPad users do. “Droid doesn’t”. Why? Because they have no standardization of hardware size so manufacturer’s (and car companies) cannot count on Sony following the same form factor or connectivity as Samsung. Developing for Android is a train wreck, which is another reason you don’t get the support you want. having everything made in one place has huge benefits for end users who have no interest in the hackability of their phone but every interest in how many cool apps, TV shows and movies they can get form the iTunes store.

          Apple managed a transition from Motorola’s 680×0 architecture to Intel without a hiccup. if you bought a FIrewire iPod, as I did, there were a good three years or more that you probably had a computer with FW on it and the device still worked perfectly years after it was discontinued.

          You can kick and scream all you want about how the iPhone 5 won’t work in a new MINI but I told you it will be seamless and it is. Older cars, like older accessories will need to be updated to support the latest features. That’s just the way this stuff works. They aren’t like TVs where you by something and it never needs updating for 20 or 30 years.

        • Axtell71

          Droid phones have no standardization? Are you serious? They all use the same micro USB cable. You know, the same one that the EU REQUIRES all phones to use? The same one that forces Apple to ship a lightning to micro USB adaptor? You’re really reaching there, pal, in suggesting hardware fragmentation is anything resembling a cause.

          Hackability of the phone? Right, I mean there’s no culture in jailbreaking iPhones, right? Hilarious. Your arguments for a walled garden are as ignorant as they are out of date. Sure, when the iPhone debuted, it was great. But it’s nothing but stale now, which is why Android OS dominates iOS in global market share.

          Now, get back to your iKoolaid, its obvious you drank a lot this morning!

        • Kurtser

          Maybe you didn’t understand. Droid devices have no standardization in form factor, screen size or screen resolution. Big whoop. they use USB. Devices like Numark’s iDJ Pro or the Alesis AmpDock, or Akai Pro’s SynthStation 49 aren’t available for Droid tablets because their sizes are all over the map.

          Don’t be an idiot. Of course, iPhone users jailbreak their phones. The vast majority of iPhone users don’t jailbreak their phones, nor does the vast majority of cell phone users need or have an interest in hacking/braking their phone – that’s not why more people buy droid phones. Marketshare often comes down to whatever’s cheapest, which Droid phones have done spectacularly.

          I’m sure the millions of people who own iPhones are all just ignorant schmucks who don’t know their phones are “stale” according to you. I’m sure they’ll be just fine without your “fresh” alternatives.

          And don’t call me “pal”. You’ve never met me. Thanks.

  • Michael Jordan

    Not entirely true Axtell, the new adapter has a DAC in it for audio, hence the price. So far almost everything should work but the plugin and analog video. I know Gabe’s article states otherwise but I am skeptical based on Apple’s warning and an article on Wired quoting a BMW spokesman Dave Buchko.

  • I don’t have the armrest extra for the iPhone but I use the cable to connect the iPhone directly to my MINI if I want to listen to music. Otherwise, it’s always connected via Bluetooth. By the way, I’m using my iPhone to post and it’s terribly slow when typing. Anyone else with the same problem? I’m using a 4S.

  • Kev50027

    I understand market research demanded that BMW and MINI focus on iOS, but with it becoming increasingly behind the times and irrelevant, can they justify sticking with it? When will they add support for the more modern, capable Android?

    • According to the last conversation i had with BMW about this, iOS represents a sizable majority of owners in both brands.

      • Kev50027

        That’s what I read (probably from this site). On the other hand, Android represents a clear majority of all smartphone owners, so I would really appreciate it if they threw us a bone. I don’t think it would be that hard, technically. They could use the USB for MHL and mirror the display on the car’s nav screen. This would work with the vast majority of Android phones made in the past few years, and would be almost future proof.

        • They are and they certainly recognize that it’s important. As Michael mentioned below, the reason BMW was slow to adopt Android was because there was no standardized protocol for the device and car to use until recently.

    • smarek

      How? Even though most Android devices use mini USB the physical location of the port is in a different location for every phone. They also come an a hundred different sizes. How would you make an armrest that would fit all those phones? And the next ones that come out 6 months later?

      And not to turn this into a flame war but just because you say Android is more modern doesn’t make it so. The Android OS despite having “project butter” still runs janky as hell under a load which Apple got right with the first phone. Apple also now uses the most modern touch sensor/display tech give them the world thinnest phone that still has better battery life, better processor performance, and a better camera than the phone before. Apps are what really makes a phone capable and ios always get the best ones first.

      • Kev50027

        Why do you need a cradle in your car? Do people still buy cradles for their car to use their phone in? Considering people get a new phone every 2 years or less, and keep a car for much longer, getting a cradle makes no sense. Secondly, Android is not janky by any means. I know many Apple fans still claim this is the case to justify spending more on a phone with fewer features, but it’s simply not the case. Have you used a Nexus 7 or Galaxy Nexus? I recommend checking out Android, you may be surprised by how smooth and fast it is. Apple’s touch screen tech in the iPhone 5 is the same that’s in the Nexus 7, and the Nexus 7 is hundreds of dollars cheaper, and has a bigger screen. Full lamination LCDs are just a way to make the phone thinner by fusing the glass layers together with no air in between. The Nook Color also had the same technology 2 years ago.

        I’m not aiming to start a flame war, but I’d like to set the facts straight. When compared to the iPhone 4S, the iPhone 5 is evolutionary. It’s an improvement, but by no means a vast improvement. There’s not one feature that’s never been done before by someone else. Compared to Android phones, the iPhone 5 would be modern 3 years ago. Android phones of today have far larger and higher resolution screens than the iPhone 5. They have more RAM, more storage inside, and often have expandable storage so you can double your memory for less than $20. With the iPhone, you pay hundreds more for more memory, then you can’t remove that memory later on and use it in another phone, camera, tablet, or laptop. Android phones have had things like panorama mode for years, and indeed even iOS has had free apps that do the same thing. Finally, Android is open, so if you don’t like the keyboard that is included, you can replace it. If you don’t like the home screen, get a different one. You can have as many widgets as you like, so you can get all of your email, daily news, Facebook updates, and traffic info without even opening an app. Don’t worry though, iOS will copy these features in a few years, and then the iPhone 6 will be comparable to today’s Android phones.

        • Key thing is to each their own. Personally I meander back and forth between an S3, Galaxy Nexus (White – yeah!), a Note and an iPhone 4S. The Galaxy Nexus is by far my favorite Android device due to both the design and software. But it’s the iPhone 4S that is by far the most enjoyable to use and easily my favorite. I imagine the iPhone 5 I have coming Friday will just up the ante. And you know what? None of it matters because I can stream music via bluetooth from any of them to my car 🙂

        • Kev50027

          Woah! Didn’t realize this gig paid that well.. I need to get a job in blogging 😉

        • They’re actually thanks to my other job 😉

        • fairchilr001

          you stream music via bluetooth to your beemer or your MINI?

        • Both

        • fairchilr001

          I haven’t figured out how to do it on a MINI yet =(

    • BimmerFile_Michael

      The problem with Android and always will be, there is no consistency in the OS or the build between different brands or even different phones from the same brand.

      The reason BMW was slow to adopt Android was because there was no standardized protocol for the device and car to use- this has been fixed now (how many years later?) but there is no standard for size/location of plugs.

      That is why iOS makes most sense as it is standardized. People think Android is the most popular, but divide that number amongst the different variants and it makes things a whole lot different.

      • Kev50027

        The fragmentation with regard to OS skins has nothing to do with hooking a phone up to a car, and wouldn’t change anything. All current Android phones run Gingerbread or newer OS, which supports MHL, audio over Bluetooth, and every other protocol necessary. This has been the case for 2 years. With regard to plug location, that is irrelevant as well, since you could simply plug your phone in, there is no need for a cradle, since users buy new phones often enough that it would be out of date within a year or two.

        I do understand that BMW is hesitant to invest in technology that may not be relevant for many of their customers, but in all honesty, they already have with their undying Apple support.

        • BimmerFile_Michael

          It has nothing to do with skinning. I met with BMW engineers to discuss this last year (this week actually). It has nothing to do with MHL or BT. Some phones used different protocols for two-way communication with outside devices (BMW/MINI)- it was up to the device manufacturer and was not standardized by Android- this made it a no go for BMW bc they could not keep up with the variability and they were not going to just offer connectivity to one specific phone (Samsung IIRC was even using different protocols with different handsets-or it may have been HTC).

          The lead engineer had an Android phone as his personal phone- his colleague also had one and they said point blank that they could not get it to work for the two phones to work with the same software but when Android finally standardizes that in (which then was rumored to be ICS) BMW will begin to support it because that is what makes sense and is more feasible. I am not aware of any changes in that though process but if that protocol is standardized they will target Android moving forward.

  • fairchilr001

    I was able to get the iPhone 5 to work using the cable that came with the iphone AND a aux cord for audio.

  • Axtell71

    I really wish MINI could get rid of these adapters and cables and make bluetooth (a truly universal standard) the way connected works. Oh wait, Apple doesn’t support any data support over bluetooth so you have to use a cable.

    • Sure they do. I use belly tooth streaming everyday in my roadster and get track information and the ability to go previous and next. In this case the issue isn’t Apple but Bluetooth itself.

  • Beryllium

    Just get a Sony MW600 and stream music for $39 if you want simple. Use a Male to Male 3.5mm adapter to complete the setup. I’ve attached a picture I found on google of how it would work.


  • Zubin Anary

    I finally received my order of cables from Apple, and here is what I found out so far. When I used the “Y” cable with my 09 JCW Convertible with the “Lightning to 30pin Adapter”, I can access all my music and play lists and my iPhone 5 charges without issue (albeit very slowly). Now here is the interesting and weird thing which I believe is undocumented so far. When I use the “Y” cable with my 090 JCW Convertible witih the “Lightning to 30pin 0.2m Adapter” I can access all my music, but IT WILL NOT CHARGE the iPhone. It reports that this accessory is not supported and won’t charge. This is very weird. Why is it that the adapter works, but the 0.2m adapter won’t work? They are the exact same thing except the 0.2m version is longer and allows a little more movement of your iPhone while playing music. The passenger can use the iPhone while the music is playing over the Mini stereo. Can someone follow up with Mini to see what they have to say about this? (Adapter URL = http://store.apple.com/us/product/MD823ZM/A/lightning-to-30-pin-adapter?fnode=45) (0.2M Adapter URL = http://store.apple.com/us/product/MD824ZM/A/lightning-to-30-pin-adapter-02-m?fnode=45) for reference purposes.