Why does BMW now want to charge a subscription to Apple CarPlay?
BMW has recently announced plans to charge for their drivers to use the Apple CarPlay system built into modern Apple iPhones, but why would a manufacturer charge for something that is included as part of the phone’s software?
Apple introduced CarPlay into their iOS 9 software back in 2014, car manufacturers have been slow to integrate the technology and now with BMW wanting to charge a subscription to use it, I’m going to go into the reasons why manufacturers don’t want to offer it for free.
How did Apple Car Play Start?
Not many people know but BMW Group’s Technology office based close to Apple in Palo Alto worked on a feature on iOS4 called “iPod Out.” It was effectively the carnation of Apple CarPlay (Circa. 2010) enabling vehicles with the right tech the ability to host audio and video feeds from a supporting iOS device. You were able to use the knobs and wheels of the ICE to control the iOS device with the aid of the in-car display.
Let’s fast forward a few years to June 2013 when BMW announced that it wouldn’t implement Apple CarPlay into their vehicles, a policy that would later be re-written when a number of other manufacturers said that they would give consumers the option or add it as standard.
Eddy Cue first announced CarPlay at the 2013 WWDC after it had been in development for a while. Then came the Geneva Motorshow of 2014 when Apple CarPlay was finally launched with a number of other manufacturers including Volvo, Mercedes and Ferrari, with the Ferrari FF being the first car to include a full version of CarPlay.
So why do BMW want to charge for Apple CarPlay?
Subscriptions for all types of companies is a big money earner, thing about what you pay out for on a monthly basis, services such as Netflix, Microsoft Office and even xBox gaming. Car manufacturers aren’t new to subscription services, even a BMW I had a few years back I had to subscribe to internet access, travel updates and software updates.
The latest Mercedes GLE comes with lots of subscription options from live traffic, to in-car office integration, to internet in the car via Vodafone to music streaming services, so now let’s look at Apple CarPlay.
If every manufacturer was to adopt Apple CarPlay, they may never sell built in Satellite Navigation Systems, music streaming service subscriptions and even traffic and sat nav updates, and this is a huge problem.
You see the car industry as a whole is suffering, with the looming effects of Brexit to the transition to alternative fuel cars, manufacturers rely on these up-sells and subscriptions to earn them additional revenue after the car has been delivered.
Cars are also more reliable these days, so the service departments at dealerships don’t make as much money, so it’s very difficult for the manufacturers to recoup R&D costs and manufacturing costs.
Will BMW be the only manufacturer to charge for CarPlay?
The answer is no! We’ve already seen the likes of Mercedes charging a one off fee to activate Apply CarPlay remotely. Yes, remotely. So the hardware/software is already built in, but Mercedes wants a fee to turn it on and recoup some of that money.
BMW have taken a different stance on the subscription, they will actually give you the first 12 months free of charge. Thereafter, it’s £85 per annum. You can also pay £255 for three years or £295 for the lifetime access of the service. We’re currently unsure if this is transferrable to a new owner when you sell your car like the Mercedes model.
It will be interesting to see how other manufacturers change their ideas with Apple CarPlay, I’m sure each and every car maker will be watching BMW to see if it’s a success or not.
How do you feel about paying for Apple CarPlay?
What are your thoughts on the subscription levied by BMW for Apple CarPlay? Do you understand the reasoning behind it and do you think they are right? Do you think other manufacturers will follow? Drop your comments below and I will try and answer each and everyone.
The Top 9 Apple Car Play Apps in the UK of 2019 - Gadget Geek Boy
I will get some grief for this, but I personally find Google Maps better than Waze and also gives me traffic alerts and…
The Top 9 Apple CarPlay Apps of 2018... - Gadget Geek Boy
Apple knew they were on to something when they introduced Apple CarPlay and so did the vehicle manufacturers. Slow…
3 things I'd like to see in the RHD Tesla Model 3 - Rhys Adams
With a large amount of UK reservation holders for the Tesla Model 3, including myself. I thought it would be a great…
CarPlay: Everything We Know | MacRumors
CarPlay, at its core, is Apple's way of bringing iOS to in-car infotainment systems and dashboards. It's designed to…
BMW makes Apple CarPlay a subscription service
BMW has become the first carmaker to make Apple CarPlay a subscription service, with owners wanting to synchronise…
About Me and My Business
I’m a newbie really in the car trade, having started in 2003 as retail sales. In 2007 I set up my own business called Cocoon Vehicles offering contract hire and leasing deals, 2008 the credit crunch hit and the business model needed to change, so we took a big funding line, purchased 5 Audi A3’s and 2 VW Sciroccos and started doing short term car leases.
We now have over 300 cars on the road from little Fiat 500’s to BMW X5’s. I love my job and love keeping up to date with the news, so hopefully by writing these articles I’m helping other people with their interest of cars.
Find out more about my business by giving “Cocoon Vehicles” a Google!