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Testing iPhone 5 connection adapters with a Volkswagen

Steve Sande, @stevensande
November 9, 2012
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One of the immediate concerns of many Apple fans when the company announced the iPhone 5 and the Lightning connector was how the new connector would work with iPod/iPhone integration systems that are built into many cars. CNET Senior Editor Wayne Cunningham found that the iPhone 5 worked beautifully in some cars, but had some issues with Volkswagen's Media Device Interface.

In both Chevy and Nissan vehicles, Cunningham was able to plug the USB-Lightning cable into the cars' USB ports. The integration worked exactly the way it should have, with the iPhone's music library appearing on the LCDs in the cars. As Cunningham notes, this means that Apple really hasn't made any drastic changes to the music control firmware in the iPhone 5.

Things were much different when he tried to use the iPhone 5 in a Volkswagen Golf R that he was reviewing. The VW uses a proprietary Media Device Interface with a special cable which he plugged into Apple's 30-pin Dock connector to Lightning adapter. Things worked well initially, but then Bluetooth audio streaming took priority over the cabled connection and grabbed the connection even when Cunningham told it to use the wired path.

Why Cunningham didn't just try to shut off Bluetooth and let the MDI do its thing was not mentioned in the post, but the post definitely points out that you may see some issues when trying to use your new iPhone with an existing car audio system. Have you had success or failure with your iPhone 5 and car audio system? Let us know in the comments.

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