I know that this is slightly off-topic to the thread title, but it's relevant to the discussion going on in here.
It seems that some non-iDrive systems work with the included USB/Lightning cable. Those are the ones that were manufactured later. Earlier editions, like mine, need the BMW Y-cable even for the earlier iPhones. Without the Y-cable, there's no hope of getting steering wheel controls, etc., back. The jury's still out on whether the Apple adapter solutions will work.
If they don't, is it possible to retrofit the newer non Y-cable-needing systems (is this the "combox"?) to older cars like mine? I have no desire to retrofit an entire new iDrive system, just the connection in the center console. Anyone know?