Originally Posted by wepio
Thank you for the response. I am also about fed up with, and about to abandon, the internal HDD. I would like to get the 160GB iPod Classic to handle my music, but don't know if it'll interface with the iDrive screen. Currently, I'm using my 2nd Gen iPod Touch, but it only works via auxilliary. Do you know if the iDrive/iPod Classic interface allows for album art, playlist, and on-screen interaction via USB (and not any propriety BMW connection cables)?
I'm pretty sure, that since you have a 2009 like I do, you have the old combox. This does not allow you to interface with "BMW Apps", or get album art, etc. You should also not be able to see or control your iPod with only the white apple 30 pin to USB connector.
Your car, with the iPod interface feature, would have an auxiliary jack and a USB port under the console. It would also have come with the $80 BMW "Y-connector" iPod interface cable, which is mandatory to be able to connect an iPod with the iDrive in order to control it and get track information. The cable has a 30 pin connector on the iPod side, and a USB and analog audio plug, which connect to both ports under the console. My understanding is that it pulls analog audio through the 30 pin connector to be able to play apple formatted and DRMed music files through the head unit (the iPod does the digital to Analog conversion).
I was successful in using this cable to originally connect my iPhone 4, and currently use it with a permanently attached white 30 GB iPod 5th Gen (video), similar to the classic.
The only problem i've run into is that your tags and naming conventions are uber important. I have quite a few "greatest hits", "best of" and "single" folders as album names. It is hard to sort and select the exact album I want to hear. I suppose playlists would help, but I've never really used them, so I don't know how well they work (or don't). I also have about 6000 songs on the iPod, so there is a big chance for duplicate titles.
A friend voiced his concern about using a harddrive based iPod in the car. I have had a Phatbox (Music Keg), which is just a glorified portable hard drive interface, in my Passat for almost 10 years. Haven't had an issue, although it is a little slow to start during very cold weather. However, it is located in the trunk, which gets very little in terms of heat or ventilation. I would imagine that the center console would be a bit more kind to electronics.
Hope my rambling helps!!