Selection of Music, iPod and 6er
There where a couple of further questions to be answered.
Music selection works similar to the iPod or other mp3-players with database. You can select Genre, Artist, Albums or Songs. E.g., if the Genre Pop is selected it will show all Artists of this category. If an Artists is selected then it will show the Albums of this Artists that are in Genre Pop. When selecting an Album it will show the corresponding songs. As mentioned earlier for an USB device the metainformation (e.g. ID3-tags) need to be analyzed before these categories are available. Some detail information about the tags: only latin characters can be displayed (e.g., a Japanese tag will result in an empty string) because of limitations of the fonts available; ID3-tags version 2.0 and higher are perfered over version 1.x tags (but these are not really relevant anymore); 20.000 tags can be stored.
What is also different to the iPod interface currently available is you can browse through all categories while you listen. Furthermore, when an iPod is connected it will continue to play the song that is currently selected at the iPod. For USB devices the last track session is stored and invoked when the device is connected again and/or the car is started (track sessions of 4 devices can be stored).
One more important detail with USB devices. Digital rights protected songs cannot be played. 6fl does not come with digital rights management (which is pain in the *** for a control unit in a car).
Now to the iPod thing. The general answer is: use the BMW specific adapter cable - it's worth the investment. However, under certain conditions iPod can be operated without this special cable as well. First of all it is necessary that you have a "Windows" iPod. iPod's that are operated at a Mac have the Apple filesystem (HFP+) which cannot be read by 6fl. Next thing is that you connect your iPod at iTunes and configure the iPod to operate also as standard storage device. If the iPod is now connected to 6fl with the USB cable that comes along with the device it will be recognized and treated as an USB mass storage device (basically everything said about USB devices applies know also to the iPod that is connected in the described way). The problem now is that you first get the directory view (metadata need to be analyzed know by 6fl; there is no way to read the internal database of the iPod). The directory view of the iPod is a mess: all audiofiles are renamed with random names of 5 letters, all audiofiles are randomly stored in some sub-subdirectories of names f01, f02, etc. Once the metadata is analyzed by 6fl things improve dramatically because it will offer the selection via Genre, Artist, etc. However, there are some more drawbacks. It can take time until all metadata is analyzed. While it will be acceptable for an iPod Nano it can take hours for an iPod Video 80GB that is completely filled (don't expect performance miracles by controll unit installed in a car). Furthermore, DRM protected songs will not be displayed because 6fl cannot deal with them, e.g., all songs from the Apple music store. Playlists cannot be displayed because they are stored somewhere in the internal database of the iPod. So, these are the reasons why it's worth to go for the adapter cable and congratulations if you have read all of this.
Some more congratulations if you come around of some 6er or M6 with 6fl before September 2007. To my knowledge this is hardly possible. But I think the 6-series is a nice car even without the 6fl.