BMW puts iPod in driver's seat

You won't even have to take your hands off the steering wheel to use Apple's music player.

BMW and Apple Computer have announced new iPod-compatible cars that will let drivers flick between songs without taking their hands from their steering wheels.

The cars will connect to the iPod, with drivers able to charge up their music players or listen to songs on their iPod through the car stereo, with the iPods designed to sit in the BMW's glove box.

For the BMW X3, X5, 3 Series and Z4, the steering wheel will come with an iPod control built in, based on the familiar interface from car CD players. Other BMW models will be able to recharge an iPod and connect it to the car's stereo, but won't come equipped with the steering wheel control.

The iPod-BMW deal has already gone down well in the United States. North America has been able to get hold of the iPod-compatible model 5 since July and an Apple spokesman said there's still a six-week waiting list for the cars.

BMW isn't the first car manufacturer to bring iPod compatible models to Europe. Smart cars made by Mercedes have been available with iPod functionality in Germany since this June.

Earlier this summer, the two companies released a $150 adapter that plugs iPods into BMWs. While no definitive date has been given for the full release of the iPod BMWs, Apple has said BMW will fully support the iPod beginning this autumn.

Jo Best of Silicon.com reported from London.

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