Apple’s Watch is set to debut by the end of April, and available for it will be BMW’s i Remote app. BMW’s app has been available since January on both Apple and Android smartphones, as well as Android-based smartwatches. However, BMW’s i Remote app will be the first automotive app for the Apple Watch.
The i Remote app allows users to control their BMW i3s in a variety of different ways. With just the touch of a screen, you can lock or unlock the i3 (not available in the US), set the climate control, honk the horn or even find where it’s parked and get turn-by-turn directions to it. Nifty. While this was already available on smartphones, customers will now be able to do it from their wrists.
BMW isn’t the only automaker to do this, Hyundai, for instance, has its Blue Link service which can interact with its cars in a similar fashion and has been available for smartphones and Android based smartwatches since early March. Automakers are starting to get involved in these sorts of technologies, as it allows them to stay more connected to their customers. Cason Grover, technology planning manager at Hyundai Motor America said “The wearables concept is really catching on.”
However, as it stands now, smartwatches are in their infancy in terms of technology and don’t seem worth the extra money for the little added convenience. The apps work on most smartphones as well, so the small extra convenience of not having to reach into your pocket, and just look at your wrist, is just an added luxury. Especially when you consider the price, which at $349.99 for the Apple Watch is more than the average on-contract smartphone, the Apple Watch i Remote App doesn’t seem to be worth it.
Although, the technology is improving, and in a few years time, smartwatches may become better and more convenient to use than a standard smartphone. “It’s going to start as a little bit of a luxury — something that the more tech-oriented people will be drawn to,” says Gover. “Over time, that may start to change.”
So as it stands, the i Remote app is a truly remarkable piece of technology, one that can make i3 customers’ experience even better. But it’s probably better off being used on your smartphone than an Apple Watch. At least for now.