BMW Motorrad announces ConnectedRide Cradle, but Apple says motorcycle vibrations kill iPhone cameras. Who’s right?

BMW Motorrad announced a new product catering to riders who use their smartphones for navigation while riding: the ConnectedRide Cradle.

The ConnectedRide Cradle -CRC as we’ll refer to it going forward- mounts the rider’s smartphone in landscape orientation in the onboard GPS mount – provided, of course, the bike is already equipped with the mount. When synced to BMW Motorrad’s Connected App, the phone can not only be used for navigation, but also to see motorcycle data such as lean angle, acceleration, deceleration and more. Viewing this information is done through the Multi-Controller (what BMW calls the Wonder Wheel).

The CRC can handle smartphones up to 6.4 inches wide, including all Apple phones back to the iPhone 7. The compatibility list includes standard and large-sized iPhones as well as Samsung’s popular Galaxy devices and others. (A list follows at the bottom.)

HOWEVER!

iPhone 12 camera. Photo from ifixit.

On 10 September 2021, Apple released a support bulletin stating clearly: “Exposing your iPhone to high amplitude vibrations within certain frequency ranges, specifically those generated by high-power motorcycle engines, can degrade the performance of the camera system.”

Third-party makers like Quad Lock have been making hay of Apple’s announcement by touting their motorcycle phone mounts’ vibration damping (or even eliminating, if you believe some claims) systems, though few if any of them say outright their mounts will absolutely prevent damage to smartphones from “high-power motorcycle engines.”

When it comes to liability, if a rider uses the CRC and their smartphone’s camera ceases proper operation, who pays for the repair? Apple has said this is a problem, so they’re unlikely to cover damage. BMW Motorrad can’t be expected to be responsible for damage to a third-party item even if it’s used in a BMW-sourced mount. It’s likely in the USA at least, with our litigious society, such a happenstance could likely end up in court.

As cool as the idea and execution of the CRC is, without some kind of specific vibration damping in place, it would seem that mounting a smartphone -especially an Apple one- to the motorcycle might not be the best idea. Having said that, BMW Motorrad deserves some kudos for recognizing the growing use of smartphones by motorcycle riders for navigation and providing a way to keep its riders happy as technology continues to march forward.

The press release announcing the CRC talks a lot about the unit’s capabilities, including wireless Qi charging at 7.5A (or wired with a USB-C cable, if you need it, at 1.5A). There’s nothing in the presser discussing any vibration damping qualities, and since the CRC connects directly to the bike’s onboard GPS mount, this is important data for all smartphone users who might want to take advantage of this new accessory.

According to BMW Motorrad’s press release, the CRC is meant for bikes with the newest TFT dash systems. They add:

“The ConnectedRide Cradle can also be used on older BMW Motorrad models (e.g. BMW R 1200 GS K50) and fits all BMW Motorrad models equipped with the optional equipment ‘Preparation for navigation system (option 272)’ – as well as models equipped with Multi-Controller and the option of retrofitting the navigation preparation via the BMW Motorrad workshop system (except R 1200 RT, R 1250 RT, K 1600 models). On older motorcycles without a TFT instrument cluster, operation is possible via the control element of the ‘Preparation for navigation unit SA 272.’ The prerequisite for displaying vehicle data is ‘On-board computer Pro (option 221).’

“The ConnectedRide Cradle cannot be used with the Navigator 4-Button Mount Cradle.

“In order to be able to fully use the functions described, the BMW Motorrad Connected App version 4.0 or higher must be used. BMW Motorrad recommends that you always install the latest updates to ensure proper functioning.

“A Bluetooth connection is required to enable the app to be controlled via the motorcycle’s navigation preparation control element. The smartphone must be equipped with Bluetooth Low Energy version 4.2 at least in order to comply with the security requirements (LE Secure Connections) for the connection. Smartphones with older Bluetooth versions are therefore not supported.

“Bluetooth pairing takes place within the BMW Motorrad Connected App and is only required once during initial setup.”

BMW Motorrad says all mobile phones with the following dimensions will work with the CRC: Minimum 130.1 by 65 by 6.9 mm (5.12 by 2.56 by 0.27 inches); maximum 162.5 by 78.1 by 8.8 mm (6.39 by 3.07 by 0.35 inches). This includes the following mobile phones (though it is not a complete list):

  • Apple: iPhone 7, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XR, iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11 Pro Max, iPhone SE 2, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Mini, iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max, iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Mini, iPhone 13 Pro, iPhone 13 Pro Max
  • Samsung: Galaxy A3, Galaxy A8, Galaxy A8 Plus, Galaxy A9, Galaxy S8, Galaxy S8 Plus, Galaxy S9, Galaxy S9 Plus, Galaxy S10, Galaxy S20, Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G (Tipp: Insertion into the ConnectedRide Cradle with the camera module at the bottom right), Galaxy S20 FE, Galaxy Note 8, Galaxy Note 9, Galaxy Note 10, Galaxy Note 10 Plus, Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
  • Huawei: P20, P30
  • Google: Pixel 2 XL
  • HTC: U11

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