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Tuesday, July 13, 2010, 05:00 am PT (08:00 am ET)

BMW to support Apple's new iPod Out feature of iOS 4

A new feature of iOS 4 that enables iPhone and iPod touch devices to present a full featured control panel on an external display for use in automotive integration is getting official support from BMW.

The new "iPod Out" feature was originally profiled in April after developers noted support for the extended new "iPod Accessory Protocol" in pre-release betas of iOS 4.

At the time, it was speculated that the feature would enable the integration of a "video screen to show the menus and custom physical buttons that would produce the notifications to allow the user to move through those menus and select from them," presenting a simplified display nearly identical to the iPod classic and nano.

According to a YouTube video posted by BMW, the car maker will be adding support for the new feature in its BMW and Mini cars starting next year.

The video notes that unlike existing iPod car integration systems that provide basic playback controls, the iOS iPod Out feature exposes more advanced features such as Genius Mixes and presents a familiar Apple interface, "which is one of the main advantages of the system," the company notes.

The company says it hosts the new iOS feature in a "BMW automotive experience," which includes a navigation dial and buttons placed near the driver's right hand and the car's dash-integrated video display.

The video notes that engineers at BMW's Palo Alto technology office in "Silicone Valley" have been working on the project for three years in tight integration with German engineers in the BMW Research and Innovation Centre's Project House in Munich.