CNET looked at how BMW has integrated the Mog online music service in its vehicles. With an iPhone running the Mog app, the driver can search for music or select from Mog's new releases or editors' pick lists.
Mog integration comes as part of the BMW Apps feature. CNET tested this interface in a 2012 650i, but BMW Apps is now available in most BMW models as part of its latest cabin technology. BMW Apps also includes Pandora and Google search.
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Currently, BMW Apps and Mog integration only work with the iPhone 3GS, 4, and 4S. Although we used an iPhone 4S plugged into the car's phone cradle, the service would also work using the white iPhone cable plugged into the car's USB port. The system requires that the Mog app be running on the iPhone, and logged into a user account with the music service. BMW is currently developing Android integration.
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With the iPhone plugged into the car, the Mog icon appears on the list of media devices available to the car's stereo. Select the Mog menu icon with the BMW's iDrive controller.
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The main play screen shows the artist and track name, the cover art for the album. The left side of the screen shows the Mog menu, which lets you do things such as mark a song as a favorite.
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The search function queries Mog's database of 14 million songs. You can search by artist, album, or track name, and the system saves recent searches.
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The search entry screen relies on the iDrive rotary controller. Entering long strings can be tedious with this controller, but the Mog interface brings up a list of suggested results with each new letter.
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A search on an artist name results in a list of albums, complete with thumbnails of the cover art.
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Once selected, the interface uses a Cover Flow-like paradigm, showing which tracks are ahead or behind on the playlist.
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Beyond searching for specific artists, the Mog interface includes links to its New Releases and Editors' Picks lists.
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The New Releases list is an easy way to keep up with the latest music, or find new stuff. But the minimal information in this view means you will have to select albums based on cover art and artist name.
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In the settings menu, the Mog interface lets you choose whether to restrict playback to the specific artist you selected, or have Mog throw in similar artists, creating more variety.
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As a bonus, BMW throws in this screen, which uses the iPhone's iPod-out function. This screen is actually powered by the iPhone, rather than having the iPhone merely feed data to an interface engine hosted by the car. The iPod-out screen is buried under the ConnectedDrive menu item, and seems more of an experiment by BMW at this stage.