iPhone 5 Bluetooth Issues With Holden IQ Create Concern

December 5th, 2012

Holden's IQ System - Causing Issues With Apple's iPhone 5A bit of a commotion has sprung up, with reports of the latest iPhone 5 not working in Holden Commodore & an assortment of other new cars.

The issue, described at length at the popular whirlpool forums, stems from a change in technology in the latest generation of the iPhone 5. Whilst owners of the previous iPhone generations (iPhone 4S & below) had no problems with connecting to the Holden IQ system, the latest iPhone simply doesn't behave as it should.

When users try to take (or make) a call using the steering wheel, the iPhone 5 doesn't engage into the Bluetooth mode, and thus the person cannot be heard. This causes drivers to have to manually switch over, encouraging a dangerous situation where-by they have to use one hand to pick up the iPhone and navigate it's menu. Not only is this dangerous, it's also illegal - with the police issuing hefty fines to people seen using their smartphone's whilst driving.

The response from both Holden & Apple have been lackluster and not very encouraging. Apple have made a blanket statement of “both the iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S support Bluetooth 4.0”, essentially passing the buck over to Holden.

As to where to fault lies, nobody is 100% sure, but many people have theories. Most point to the fact that problems started occurring after Apple issued their new iOS software update, version 6.

Unfortunately, in situations like this, that involve in-car hardware & software, issues will arise when manufacturers like Apple change the way their smartphones 'talk-to' other devices. It's really up to the car manufacturers, like Holden, to have a system in place where by the software driving the car's audio & Bluetooth systems can easily be upgraded. For some, this is easy, and involves downloading a firmware update onto a USB Stick and inserting this into the car's system. Other systems, like the HoldenIQ, don't seem to have this in place, and loyal customers are told that the 'next model' of the car will work with the latest iPhone.

Of course, nobody is going to upgrade their car just to get hands-free calling to work with their iPhone.

Clearly the car manufacturers who do NOT have upgradeable firmware need to get their act together, and make it happen. There's no point stating that a car is 'iPhone compatible' when clearly it is not. Systems like this need to be easily upgradeable, able to adapt to the latest changes and updates from Apple (& other smartphone manufacturers). This seems like a war between different worlds - Car makers like Holden and the almighty Apple.

Hopefully soon a compromise will be reached, and these big companies stop passing the buck and blaming each other. The poor customer is the one being hurt here, the person who is the cornerstone of any companies existence. Surely more importance should be placed on providing solutions as quickly as possible? Let's hope both sides will 'suck it up' and take some responsibility, start talking to each other, and give us something that works as it was advertised.

Anth Wakes.