What a happy coincidence: here was me just about to drive a brand new Audi A8 off the lot, when the German firm join hands with Apple and issue a gushing press release about their latest in-car couplings. No, this isn’t some sort of unpleasant cellular dogging experience, it’s Audi bigging-up their optional Bluetooth interface which – surprise surprise – is compatible with the iPhone. There’s also a cable on offer which, if you don’t mind that bit of extra tethering, could start pumping your tunes through the car’s speakers.
First off, the Bluetooth option: Audi want their Teutonic customers to know that not only can they control such mundane functionality as accept/reject-call/hands-free but also indicate signal strength and provider name on the car’s display, as well as phonebook transfer including numbers differentiated by category (e.g. work/home/mobile) and call lists.
If music is your cup of proverbial, then you’ll be wanting the Audi Music Interface. It’s basically a cable and software update that, in certain models (A5, A6, A8 and Q7), routes the iPhone’s music through the car stereo. Navigation via the normal Audi controls means you don’t have to fuss with the iPhone’s touchscreen, and you can browse by artist, track title, playlist or genre.
Frankly, it’s good but it’s not the best. Apple could’ve made the whole thing a lot simpler with the addition of – you guessed it – A2DP Bluetooth, meaning wireless music streaming and a far more elegant solution. It’d also make the Audi’s stereo compatible with any A2DP device, and future-proof it a little should Apple change the dock socket or bring out something else fun but incompatible. After all, you likely change your cellphone and PMP far more often than you do your car!