BMW is perhaps one of the very few manufacturers that charged annual fees for Apple CarPlay subscription. The German auto manufacturer used to charge $300 one-time fee or $80 subscription every year. Apparently this has not gone well with the consumers and BMW has now backtracked and started offering free CarPlay in some cars.
BMW spokesperson has confirmed that the fees will not be charged for cars running the latest version of the ConnectedDrive infotainment system. Models that are not running the latest infotainment system, such as the i3, i8, 2 Series and 4 Series, will still need to pay a one-time $300 fee.That being said, customers who have already paid for the CarPlay subscription will not receive a refund. Meanwhile, BMW assures that none of the customers will be charged subscription for Apple CarPlay. Apparently, the changes will first appear for U.K based BMW owners and will soon be followed by other countries.
It is worth noting that BMW was one of the first car manufacturers to levy fees on CarPlay. Earlier, a BMW representative explained why premium car maker needs the extra money to offer Apple CarPlay. According to the representative, the wireless CarPlay module requires different hardware as opposed to the traditional wired setup. This means the company needs to test the module separately and ensure that the hardware works properly.
In all likelihood, BMW will increase the sticker price to absorb the subscription fees. On the other hand, we also need to understand that automobiles these days are filled to the brim with gadgets and electronics. This forces automakers to spend money on software development and ensure that there are no bugs on the software front. Unlike iPhones, cars are expected to last much longer and it becomes important to keep the software updates rolling in. We hope that BMW will continue offering a similar level of support and updates for CarPlay users as before.