BMW could ditch its pricey annual subscription for CarPlay

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BMW could ditch its pricey annual subscription cost for CarPlay
No other automotive has charged users a direct subscription fee for CarPlay.
Photo: Sony

BMW might abandon its controversial policy of charging customers an annual fee to use Apple’s CarPlay platform in its vehicles, an automotive publication claims.

According to AutoCar, a BMW representative revealed that CarPlay will be free for life on its newest cars. Owners of older cars can pay a discounted fee in the region of $300 for a lifetime subscription.

BMW customers who already paid for a year’s CarPlay subscription will be offered a free unlimited subscription instead, the publication claims.

AutoCar‘s report refers specifically to BMW’s CarPlay pricing in the United Kingdom, although it seems likely (or, at least, surely plausible) that any decision should roll out internationally.

CarPlay on BMW

BMW took longer than many automakers to support CarPlay, Apple’s platform for allowing an iPhone to take over a car’s built-in stereo and navigation system. BMW charges $300 to add the CarPlay platform to existing vehicles with a built-in navigation system. However, in July 2019, the automaker revealed that CarPlay would cost users $80 after the first free year.

As my colleague Killian Bell wrote at the time: “That’s a pretty outrageous ask. Especially when you consider that many vehicle manufacturers — even the more affordable ones — now offer CarPlay and Android Auto for free as standard.”

Apple does not charge automakers like BMW a fee to adopt CarPlay. But there are costs incurred when it comes to integrating the system. BMW was the first company to pass this cost on to the customer in the form of a subscription. Others either swallowed the cost or, more likely, factored it into their pricing.

Upgraded CarPlay on iOS 13

CarPlay recently received some big upgrades when Apple upgraded to iOS 13. The biggest of these is a redesigned dashboard that makes accessing the most useful information and common functions easier. There’s also revamped Apple Music, improved Apple Maps, and more.

Are you an Apple CarPlay user? What do you think of it? Let us know in the comments below.