Originally Posted by SamS
I think that is a lot of wishful thinking. Don't you think BMW would have mentioned if it would be retrofitted via a software update? And look what cars they are offering it on. Their highest margin, most technology-driven models. Meaning it will require new hardware. The current-gen iDrive hardware has been around since at least 2009. It was due for a hardware refresh soon anyways.
Your current example of 330i to 335i is right and wrong. They may have offered you a software update that "helped", but they most certainly did not upgrade you from the old iDrive (all silver knob), to the iDrive found in a 2010 335i for example. The magnitude of change that this new 609 iDrive offers is more similar to what happened in the '08->'09 iDrive upgrade.
Notice BMW calls it "New Generation". That typically doesn't mean "software update you can get at your local dealer". That means hardware, and eventually we'll see it on more models in the next 1-2 years.
Yes, great points.
Just to clarify, I did not mention that they gave me the entire overhauled idrive, because I still had the silver knob. Just the software updates that had the new interface and other improvements.
The reason why they could be calling a "new generation" rather than a "software update that you can get at your local dealer" could be because they are releasing a new major version of the software. To give you an example, it's like installing Windows 8 on a PC that is currently running Windows 7. The input methods, display, and all of the hardware is the same, but the look and feel (and of course other features) is different but they still make you pay for it. Microsoft still gives you service pack and patch updates to Windows 7 for free, but they can't give you Windows 8 for free since it's a new major version of the software.
And, looking at the changes (just through pictures since that is all we have to go on right now), it seems as though most of the improvements are software based (UI, enhanced menu structure, weather info on map, POI enrichment, Google autocomplete). Even if there was a "faster processor", I can't see why those updates, which are all software changes, can be applied to the current system.
I can see an entire overhaul of the idrive system coming into play if the interaction method (knob + buttons + display) changed, but currently there is no mention of it except for the button text change from "CD" to "Media".