BMW wants you to pay annually for Apple CarPlay

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At the moment, BMW charge a one-off option of $300 for a navigation system with Apple CarPlay in its new vehicles, however a BMW product manager has told The Verge that this will change next year to a subscription-based service.

“This allows the customer to switch devices,” said Don Smith, technology product manager for BMW North America. “A lot of people buy [CarPlay] and think it’s okay, but sometimes they stop using it or switch to Android.”

Similar to annual subscription services like BMW Assist, BMW want to charge drivers $80 per year to access Apple CarPlay, after the first free year has expired on new BMW vehicles. This approach doesn’t sound so bad for new BMW owners who, after a three or four-year lease, would still be in pocket, costing under the $300 option selling today.

But what about the second-hand market? After the first year, drivers who pick up a BMW out of the free period will have to cough up an annual subscription to enable Apple CarPlay on their navigation system.

The reason of switching devices doesn’t hold much weight in my opinion. There is very little ‘upkeep’ required from BMW for both CarPlay or Android Auto, whose software is updated through regular Apple and Google updates respectively, whilst hardware firmware updates are few and far between in order to provide future compatibility. It feels like BMW are trying to fleece new owners for what’s becoming an increasingly desirable option for new vehicle buyers.

With the amount of negative reactions to this news across social media, I am sure this decision will not stick for too long at BMW HQ, yet if it does, there will certainly come some unofficial workarounds.

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