BMW Kills Rear-Seat DVD Screens with OEM iPad Cradles

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BMW's new iPad cradle

The blog AutoSpies.com captured pictures at the Paris Motor Show of BMW’s new replacement for the old-and-busted rear-seat DVD screens: Apple iPad cradles that rotate, and support both portrait and landscape orientations. No, this isn’t just some concept. It’s the new hotness.

The cradle debuted on the new BMW X3, but will be available for all other model series starting in the Spring.

As the blog points out, BMW is replacing the DVD units (which added about $2,000 to the price of the car and did nothing except play DVDs) with the cradles, which buyers can use to insert either the iPads they already own or new ones (costing a fraction of the cost of DVD players and able to do thousands of things, including playing movies.)

BMW also plans to introduce a new interface that will enable all new BMWs to support the iOS 4 iPod-out function. BMW also plans to build iPhone cradles into dashboards, running BMW Link, of course, which is the company’s iOS app for integrating with a vehicle’s music and GPS systems via Bluetooth.

About a month ago, I wrote a column for Computerworld in which I called on Apple to aggressively target the in-car market. My reasoning was that taking our existing media appliances and installing them in our cars makes a lot more sense than narrow single-purpose devices like DVD players, or proprietary systems like Ford Sync and MyFord Touch.

I suspect that Apple probably won’t launch a car-dashboard initiative. But it probably doesn’t matter. Car manufacturers like BMW, responding to consumer demand, will find a way to install Apple hardware into cars anyway.