BMW finally updated their remote app. I was excited to see the update come out, however BMW yet again disappoints in the app space.
There were a host of changes in this update. Beyond a fresh coat of paint and new icon there are also some other enhancements. When logging in for the first time, they have removed a redundant password prompt. They have also changed the home tab to the vehicle action screen (lock, unlock, ventilation, etc). The vehicle locator has been moved to a secondary tab.
While some progress was made, BMW really missed the point with this update. They did remove some steps from the process of locking your car but the core underlying issue remains. When you send a command to your car, you have to keep the app open and wait to verify that your car has been locked. This can take up to 5 minutes if it works. If there is a limitation that causes such a delayed response, don't make the user feel that pain. Handle the command on the server side and send me a push when it succeeds or fails.
The app is still missing the killer feature. The app needs to be registered as a Transit Provider with Apple Maps so we can send directions to our cars. This would be a seamless integration versus opening the remote app, going to the location tab, searching a different database and sending directions to the car. When I reverse engineered the old Remote App and built my own, I added this feature in 2 hours and I use it all the time.
In the luxury car market, a great companion app is almost a requirement now. Tesla's app is phenomenal and other auto makers are not far behind. But BMW lags behind. This update feels like a low budget update that product marketing shoved upon a third party developer.
I never released the BMW Remote App I built because it was a project that was intended for me. When I explored making it for mass consumption the main issue was testing it on different types of cars with different features.
I'll probably reverse engineer this update to see if there are any new cool features that can be made. I'd love an iOS 8 extension or widget to get quick access to my car.