This article will hopefully explain how the iphone cradles are setup, what the differences are and how to update the firmware on them.
At the time of writing (13th November 2013) there are five iphone cradles.
iphone 3G/3GS without cable
The cradles without cable cannot be connected to a Mercedes ipod interface. Those with, can. Usually the cradles are the same cost so it makes sense to buy one with the cable giving you the option to add an ipod interface to it should your car be capable of such.
To connect an iphone cradle to an ipod kit so you can enjoy music from the phone aswell as the phone features, requires a separate interconnecting cable. The cable for the pre 2009 cars can be seen here;
The other one is here;
There is also a cable to connect an iphone cradle to the newer media interface;
It is worth noting that the cradles with cable do not fit into the A(W169) or B(W245) class cars although we know of one customer who managed to modify the drawer of his to accomodate the cradle. The cradles without cable do fit into these two models.
To use your iphone cradle in the car it must first be paired to the phone. The cradle operates as a bluetooth cradle aswell as a fixed cradle. We often get calls from customers who say 'I bought an iphone cradle and my phone does not work with it'. The most common issue is that they have not paired the phone to the cradle first. To do this simply press and hold the small clear button on the front/top edge of the cradle. Hold it pressed until the blue light on the rear of the cradle flashes rapidly. Then go to bluetooth on the iphone and it will find 'iPhone cradle'. Select this on your phone. When asked for the pairing code, enter 62872 and select 'pair'. Then place the phone into the cradle and leave it to download the phonebook. If you subsequently get into the car the phone will pair and work with the phonesystem. However all calls will be routed via the phone's antenna and the phone will not charge. If you place the phone into the cradle it will charge and calls will make use of the cars antenna so you should get better call quality.
Early iphone4 cradles do not work with the iphone 4S. They will pair with the cradle but as soon as the pairing is established it gets dropped. There is a fix for this. All that is needed is for the cradle to be flashed with new firmware. This can be done by ordering the following item from Comand Online Ltd.
The iphone5 cradle only works in cars with built in bluetooth on the audio/Comand unit. It is a charging and antenna cradle only and will not work in cars which do not already have bluetooth on the head unit. Supported cars are from model year 2009 onwards plus the W204 C class. Using this cradle charges the phone and makes use of the cars antenna for better signal strength.