BMW News

With BMW’s obsession for connecting driver, car, and information, it is absolutely no surprise that the company is ready with one of the first automotive apps for the new Apple Watch, which officially started deliveries on April 24, 2015. Let’s face it, it’s a gadget and BMW loves gadgets. But especially for BMW i3 and i8 owners, this can be a very useful gadget.

BMW ConnectedDrive seems like a perfect match with Apple Watch. Drivers of BMW i cars—currently the BMW i3 and the BMW i8—may use the BMW i Remote app to remotely check and control functions of the cars and their charging systems. BMW i Remote is available for download free from the Apple iTunes Store.

BMW i3 and i8 drivers can use the i Remote app to check on their car’s battery status, and to alert them when the battery is fully charged.

After navigating to a parking spot, Apple Watch can provide instructions from the car to the user’s final destination, and then back to the car when necessary. Drivers can use the Apple Watch to precondition the car’s interior temperature, and even check to see if the doors are locked. The car’s remaining range can also be seen at a glance on the Apple Watch screen, if the user desires.

The Apple Watch goes on the user’s wrist and can be considered a cool-looking piece of jewelry by itself, but it comes alive when linked with an iPhone in the user’s pocket or purse. For it to do most of its neat stuff, the Apple Watch must be linked to an iPhone 5, 5s, 6, or 6 Plus using iOS8. The iPhone gives Apple Watch its connection to the outside world, including the Internet. One linked, the iPhone doesn’t need to come out of pocket or purse; it becomes all about the watch.

A swipe or a press of the Apple Watch’s screen is how users command the watch. An upward swipe reveals the BMW i Remote app start screen. Users will see a picture of the i3 or i8, and can start accessing the vehicle’s charge status, available range, and time of day. Scrolling up the start screen brings a new menu that lets users check to see if the doors are locked, or if the sunroof is open, or if the trunk is closed, Service alerts will also appear on the Apple Watch screen; for example, if a brake fluid change is due.

With a right swipe of the start screen users will find the Remote Services screen, which will let them adjust the cooling or heating of the car’s interior while it is connected to the charger. Power for this comes from the charger, not the high-voltage onboard battery.

Swiping to the right again brings the Apple Watch user to the remote horn screen. This lets the user blow the car’s horn remotely, and haven’t we all been in a big parking lot wishing we could let our car’s horn help us find it.

Intermodal route planning is relatively new to the automotive world, and the BMW i3 has it. How does it work? In slow or congested traffic, the car looks for other transportation modes that might get the occupants to their destination more quickly or efficiently. Accessing the navigation system, the Apple Watch can instruct the users on how to get from the car to the final destination, using other transport modes—which include walking, by the way. It also works in reverse, getting the i3 users back to their electric car.

The ability to control i3 and i8 functions or check their status,using a wristwatch that can also be used to communicate with other people is beyond Dick Tracy. We’re rapidly approaching James Bond, and even Knight Rider territory. And this is just the beginning.—Scott Blazey

[Photos courtesy of BMW AG.]