BMW is cheekily charging an Apple CarPlay subscription fee

BMW is going to start charging iPhone owners an annual subscription fee to use the CarPlay infotainment service built into iOS, a decision that’s sure to raise ire among drivers.

From 2019 models onwards, the company said it will charge an extra $80/£85 per year. That’s around $6.60/£7 a month. Alternately, new drivers can pay $300/£295 one-off fee for a 20-year subscription, if they’re planning on keeping the car for a few years. Regardless, the first 12-months is free.

Considering you have to buy one of the higher-end navigation-eqiupped models to even have access to CarPlay in the first place, it’s galling the German auto giant is asking for another fee to actually use it.

BMW says the new subscription model “allows us to keep the initial cost price of the vehicle down since not everyone will use CarPlay, but at the same time for those that do, they have a flexible offer structure after the initial year’s subscription has expired.”

However, would it really miss £295 from customers who’re splashing tens and thousands on a new BMW?

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Meanwhile, a number of other car manufacturers with vehicles costing considerably less than a BMW continue to offer CarPlay free of charge. AutoExpress points out the £18,600 Kia Creed offers both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. BMW hasn’t gotten around to offering Google’s Android Auto on any of its cars yet.

Drivers aren’t happy about the news with AutoExpress reader David Wakeley commenting: “Apple, over hyped and over priced. BMW over hyped and over priced. They belong with each other.”

It’s slightly harsh because Apple hasn’t actually done anything wrong here. We wonder whether the phone-maker is ok with a maker leveraging its software and putting a fee on it?

Another unhappy Beamer driver added: “This could mean my next car won’t be BMW – first time for almost 20 years.”

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