Streaming Bluetooth Audio - Success!
I have a 2008 E92 with the factory upgraded audio & iPod connection, but this will work with any of the models that have an auxiliary jack (mini/headphone style aux jack). This will work with pretty much any smartphone, as Bluetooth is a universal standard. It will also work in other cars, as I'm using the same setup in my Subaru Outback. * I understand that some BMW's with factory Navigation may already have streaming Bluetooth capability, so this is of no use to those lucky people.
I have enjoyed my BMW audio system and the factory iPod controls work OK too (except the damned cord, which is too expensive and easily damaged) but I wanted to control my music selection from my iPhone directly. This became especially true when I received my iPhone 5 (cause I just like touching it!). In any case, I found a simple and inexpensive solution and I'm thrilled with the results. It's called the "Blackberry Music Gateway" (BBMG from now on) and it just plain works! Don't let the Blackberry name fool you, it's a Bluetooth stereo/A2DP adaptor that pairs with your smartphone and receives the music/Pandora/SiriusXM/Navigation audio signals from your device and plays via the "aux" selection on your factory radio. You control the everything on the radio, except the audio song/source which is controlled on the smartphone. For example; I select the song, pause, forward/reverse, from the phone - volume,balance, bass/treble, etc. on the radio. Works great and sounds terrific too. I was able to stream iTunes/iPhone stored music, Pandora, XM (from the XM smartphone app), and even my Navigon navigation app played through my stock audio system. The sound quality is great, just as if you plugged your phone directly into the aux jack. I did not experience any static or disruption in either of my cars.
You may have Bluetooth in your BMW already and are thinking "but it won't work if my phone is connected to the car Bluetooth for phone calls" - but you'd be wrong - it does work in concert with your OEM telephone Bluetooth. Because the phone transmits the phone and A2DP signals separately, your smartphone remains paired and connected with your cars Bluetooth, while the Blackberry Music Gateway is paired with the smartphone and receives the stereo Bluetooth signal. You listen you any audio source you desire - including streaming music - and the music pauses and phone rings as normal, which you still answer via the steering wheel controls. Nothing changes from what you are doing now. * If you do not have Bluetooth in your car now, this will still be a solution for music streaming, but will not provide hands-free calls capability - this unit is only for A2DP streaming. It does automatically disconnect and reconnect when you provide power via turning on the ignition, just as the phone Bluetooth does in the BMW. For those without OEM Bluetooth, I believe this will still work with your Bluetooth headset for phone calls, but you would need to turn on the headset after you get in the car, so the BBMG would pair the audio side first and the headset would only pair the phone audio portion after (my Jawbone headsets allow for both phone audio and A2DP, which is why I mention this).
The unit itself is about 2"x1"x.25" so it's tiny. It comes complete with a USB-to-Micro USB cord and a mini-jack to mini-jack cord and you simply connect the mini-jack to your "aux" input and the USB to power (via an adapter, not included) and you're off and running. Paring is simple, with no code required on the iPhone, and it supports up to six devices. * FYI - If you have the factory iPod interface, the USB jack in the console will provide power to the BBMG.
I am NOT affiliated with Blackberry, nor the seller I am about to mention. I just wanted to share this as I know others want the same capability. I shopped around and these are hard to find, but crackberry.com has them and they are currently running a promotion for the BBMG & a high-power (read quick charge) car power cord - both for $60. (BBMG is normally $50 itself). The nice thing about the package is the power cord has a coiled cord with micro-usb end and another USB outlet built-in, so you can plug in your iPhone cord or whatever - and keep the BBMG powered at the same time - meaning the entire solution rests in your console with no wiring and nothing visible.
I didn't take photos, but there really isn't anything to photograph - it's a really small black box and that's it.
I hope this helps you folks to enjoy streaming Bluetooth too. I know there are many folks like me who have been wishing for a usable solution and this is a very good one for sure! Feel free to comment if it does. If you have questions beyond what I've described, I'll do my best to answer.