The wait is over. MINI’s completely new Connected app has dropped on iTunes as a brand new app and as a free update for current users. The new version of the app is much more focused on doing a core set of functionality very well rather than offering superfluous features that have littered the app for years.
The update follows the same principles applied to the brand’s recent realignment focusing on the essentials of digital driving assistance while still offering 3rd party app integration for extended entertainment options.
Functionality Not Removed But Supplanted
A quick look at the early reviews from the update focus on what appears to be a reduction of features. While MINI has eliminated things like web radio built into the app itself, it supplants that by allowing for Tunein integration. Tunein is often held up as the best web radio app and platform in the world and actually powered MINI Connected’s previous web radio functionality. While there’s an extra step (in the form of downloading the Tunein app) this approach allows MINI’s new Connected app to leverage the constant pace of innovation with 3rd party apps rather than relying on a slower more insular approach as before.
From now on, the MINI Connected App will comprise the following features:
– MINI Streetwise
– The basic functions Status, Apps and Profile
– Online Search
– Sports Instruments and Force Meter
In the same way as the brand is starting to adopt a much more pared-down overall approach, MINI Connected will in future concentrate on driving-related functions.
MINI Streetwise: the new central feature of the MINI Connected app.
MINI Streetwise, the MINI Connected app’s new application, lets users display the best route on their smartphone before the journey has even started. For this purpose, the app makes use of personal driving data together with the user’s own past journeys, and shows information such as journey duration and fuel consumption. The application determines the current location and displays all destinations recorded to date and the best routes on the smartphone. If several drives to the same destination have already been recorded, MINI Streetwise will calculate the user’s personal best route as the recommended option. Clicking on the destination pin calls up the estimated time of arrival together with alternative routes, including data such as distance, journey duration and fuel consumption. Users can choose to have the places displayed on a map or as a list. This same information can also be visualised in the Centre Instrument once the smartphone has been connected to the MINI. Drivers therefore always have a clear recommendation for the best way to get from A to B.
The other menu items in the MINI Connected app at a glance.
The vehicle’s location, fuel level, potential range and the last journey recorded can be found under the menu item “Status.” Clicking on the location opens a map view showing the route to the parked car. All available and installed apps are listed under “Apps,” providing users with a quick summary of all the applications that can be used in the vehicle via MINI Connected, as well as the third-party apps that are available for their MINI in the App Store or are already installed on the smartphone and linked to the vehicle. In addition to this there is the “Profile” menu item, where users can enter a name for themselves or their MINI, upload a photo and call up their personal driving statistics, including total distance, total driving time and average consumption. Finally, users will find all app information and MINI Connected tutorials under “Information.”
MINI Connected comes with the performance-oriented vehicle apps Sports Instruments and Force Meter.
The Sports Instruments and Force Meter applications can be called up directly in the MINI Centre Instrument to display performance data. Sports Instruments shows engine data including rev speed, torque, engine temperature and current engine output. The Force Meter application, meanwhile, visualises all accelerating forces on the screen while on the move, using graphics to indicate the current longitudinal and lateral acceleration in sectors surrounding a virtual MINI in the center of the display.
Online Search and Calendar complete the range of MINI Connected features.
Online Search can be used to quickly find places and addresses while in the car and transfer them straight to the optional MINI navigation system for route planning. It is possible to place phone calls directly from the Online Search function as well, for instance to make a reservation in a restaurant. MINI Connected also allows the vehicle to connect to the smartphone’s calendar. All appointments and the to-do list are then shown in the vehicle display, together with details such as attendees, phone numbers and addresses, and can be imported into the navigation system as destinations, while calls can be placed directly via the vehicle’s hands-free system.