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      09-23-2012, 12:24 PM   #119
VMcV3y
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Drives: 2012 M3 Cabriolet
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Location: Houston, Texas

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Now that I've used this for a couple of days, a comment about the functionality:

a) The overall approach makes sense in how BMW wants to introduce communications technology to the vehicle. The Media Snap-In Adapter was a bit inconvenient in that it took the iPhone out of view and into the arm-rest area. But the "upside" to this plan is that a driver is not taking his or her eyes from the road * to text or dial. When the casual reader is informed that Facebook or News/RSS can be sent to the BMW, they don't know the full story that FB and News is in an abbreviated format, and that the user is not directly manipulating the iPhone.

b) This concept carries out to the transmission of text/SMS and (eventually, again) e-mail messages to the iDrive screen. In this case, the user must have the iPhone screen locked, so that again as a deterrent, the driver is not directly manipulating the iPhone...and this is strictly a one-way data flow TO the iDrive. Safety.

c) However (and the point of this posting), when the driver is using the technique of (b) above, and the mail icon shows on iDrive, the safety factor takes a figurative drive off a cliff. On the iDrive controller, typically, the driver must press the Menu button once, then rotate to "Office," then push left to get the three menus, then select "Current Messages," then wait for the refresh filter to apply, then press down on the iDrive controller -- or scroll to a particular new message -- to pull up the actual message. That's at least five physical motions with the iDrive controller.... and, frankly, with an iPhone in my belt-clip, I can unlock it, click "Messages" app, and usually see the most current message. It's faster for me to use the iPhone, and, I would argue, safer.

d) ...Which is inconsistent with BMW's goals. If BMW actually plans another software update for the car to address messaging, I'd like to see a short-cut built into the existing buttons. Propose that:
- An envelope icon appears on iDrive screen...
- the driver does a double-click on the Menu button and is instantly taken to the most-recent message (whether text/SMS or email). That's ONE physical interaction. If that particular message is not the desired message, then left-push the iDrive controller which goes up to the filtered list.


Is there a way to get a suggestion like that sent to BMW AG?


.




* perhaps a few inches from the road, by viewing the big iDrive screen, but at least not looking down at the lower part of the steering wheel with an iPhone in-hand.
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When one wants a cabriolet, is there really any other choice than an M3? No. No, there's not.
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