BMW Apps were announced by the European automaker at the New York International Auto Show today. BMW Apps is available on cars produced from March 2011 forward and SUV's produced from April 2011 forward. BMW Apps will also be available on the all new 1 Series M Coupe which is set to arrive at BMW dealers in May.

BMW Apps allows the driver to be more seamlessly connected than ever before by using their iPhone. The BMW Connected App can be downloaded from the iTunes store and will allow users to access Twitter and Facebook Updates, listen to Internet radio from around the world with Web Radio, and use the Last Mile feature to help find their parked vehicle. In addition, Popular Internet Radio provider Pandora will have seamless integration fully controllable through the controls in the car.

BMW is making huge strides in integration of smart phones into the car, and the preloaded apps are just the beginning. BMW approved apps will also carry the full functionality with the car. An app developer can work with the automaker to create an approved app thereby ensuring quality control and proper integration.

Apple has not been sitting idle with new technology in the car. All vehicles with the BMW Apps option will come standard with PlugIn. PlugIn supports full iPod functionality, in the way iPod users are used to, right on your dashboard. PlugIn allows playlist access as well as Apple's Genius Playlist which create mixes of similar tracks from the users iTunes library. Original album art is also displayed.

For Satellite Radio fans the news is bitter-sweet. On the positive side Sirius XM has full integration into these audio systems and the user interface is simply magnificent! Users can access all of their content, set favorites, and control all of this with the touch of a finger. The Satellite Radio interface is also seamless with the car controls. On the negative side Sirius XM received no mention at all in the BMW press release. BMW, like several other makers is making a bigger deal out of smart phone integration and Pandora seems to get mentioned hand-in-hand with that type of news.

Clearly the "connected car" and "digital dashboard" will be some of the bigger news items for model year 2011 and 2012 vehicles. Cars that used to have only CD, terrestrial radio and satellite radio are now adding Internet radio capabilities. The dashboard is becoming a true battleground. Thankfully Sirius XM has some of the best content on radio and a free trial to get consumers hooked.

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Position - Long Sirius XM Radio