Wireless CarPlay is Coming to the MINI – Here’s How it Works

BMW’s implementation of wireless CarPlay has raised a few eyebrows since it is one of the first wireless implementations in the industry. And beginning with June production it will be available on all MINI Countryman and Clubman models (with others to follow soon thereafter). Today The creator of the system, Harman, is taking the wraps of of the technology and talking about what is behind it.

What’s particularly interesting about the implementation is how Harman made it work so seamlessly. In the system the car connects to an iPhone via Bluetooth (for the initial connection) and then Wi-Fi (for ongoing connectivity). This allows for a driver to keep their iPhone in their pocket while having all the functionality and content on the iDrive screen.

Official Release: HARMAN International Industries, Incorporated (NYSE:HAR), the premier connected technologies company for automotive, consumer and enterprise markets, today announced the successful commercial implementation of Apple CarPlay integration through a wireless connection, a first for the connected car industry. Through HARMAN’s end-to-end infotainment system, a vehicle’s Bluetooth and WiFi will enable the connectivity required to support CarPlay, creating a greatly enhanced wireless experience for the user. The solution is currently being deployed in the market on HARMAN infotainment systems for a luxury German automaker.

While other implementations of Apple CarPlay have been supported through a USB connection to-date, HARMAN is the first to enable wireless implementation with the iPhone connecting via Bluetooth and data transferring via WiFi. The HARMAN infotainment system provides flexibility between native and CarPlay Human Machine Interfaces (HMIs), and allows for simultaneous operation of head unit functionality and CarPlay navigation. The integration of Apple CarPlay provides users the various functions of their iPhone, including calls, music playback, mobile office, and navigation to be controlled through the car’s display. Additionally, the system also allows the use of voice-recognition for a safer, hands-free experience.

“HARMAN continues to deliver options to consumers for seamless integration of multiple mobile ecosystems into our integrated automotive platform,” said Phil Eyler, executive vice president and president, Connected Car, HARMAN. “Whether CarPlay, Android Auto, or any other projection mode solution, HARMAN is the industry leader with pioneering support for these accessory apps. We look forward to working with automakers to roll out this technology and together with many HARMAN solutions to offer consumers safe, secure, and harmonious driving experiences.”

HARMAN provides the industry’s most complete end-to-end connected car system to provide drivers intelligent, adaptable and personal solutions in the car. With more than 2,000 patents in all key domains – including safety, design, navigation, connectivity, networking, HMI and more, HARMAN continues to push the boundaries bringing connected car innovations to market that enable new connected experiences, improve driver safety and increase vehicle security.

  • Diogo Sousa

    Watch out for the clickbaits… Even if that’s plausible for BMW, will happen later at MINI and it won’t come for all the markets at the same time.

    • darex

      I’ve read the same thing several times. Touchpad iDrive (Gen 4?) came to MINI pretty quickly. Who knows?

  • Tintinmcs

    What is it going to cost to get it? Just the Harman Kardon stereo or will it also need the tech package?

  • Kevin Bartlett

    I’m excited but I have concerns. Some are with CarPlay in general. I love my phone, but is CarPlay a big enough deal for Apple that it will be supported long term? When they bring out a new phone will it be updated and make the system obsolete? Then I have concerns with how this is implemented both technically and from a marketing standpoint. Will there be software support to update it, or is this the old system where you bought it in 2017 and 2017 is where the tech stays never to be enhanced? What’s the upcharge? Is it part of the tech package or even more money on top of that.

    I’ve touched the new touchscreen in a Clubman and it was great, its a big step forward over the BMW and MINI systems that came before it, and I’m purposely holding off to see how CarPlay happens, as I didn’t want to be disappointed that I couldn’t get it. Now I’m nervous that if I place an order for a June build with a CarPlay system without seeing it I’ll be disappointed somehow…..At some point I’ll just have to take the plunge if a Clubman is the car I really want.

    • darex

      You can always elect to strictly use the iDrive software, if you come to hate CarPlay. In every car that it is installed in, it’s optional, whether you want to use that interface, or the one the car came with. Search for some apple CarPlay videos on YouTube, and you can see how it works. It works the same in every car.

      • Kevin Bartlett

        True, and the new infotainment is pretty great, I got to play with it and came away very impressed. I’ve held off on ordering to see if CarPlay is worth it or not. I find it odd how CarPlay is already in mundane cars like a Chevy Cruze but not in cars that call themselves premium. This system will be new, being wireless and all, but I’m sure they will charge extra for it as they already do in the BMW lineup. I’m emailing the dealer shortly to see what they know, I bet Motoringfile knows more than they do.

        • darex

          I’m holding off too, until wireless CarPlay is included in the build.

        • Kevin Bartlett

          Dealer near me has one on the lot….it’s almost exact to how I would spec. I might pick a different color, I might not get the roof rails but otherwise its what I would build. I’m going to struggle not to take it if the deal is fair. I’ve talked myself into thinking I can play everything from my phone anyway over bluetooth and I’m getting Nav anyway. You only live once right?

  • Doubledown

    IS Android Auto in the MINI now also? I’m still driving a 2007, so I haven’t kept up on the Tech…waiting for AA to possibly consider a new one.

    • No – it’s likely going to be available in the next 18 months.