WTF: BMW to charge an $80 yearly subscription just to use Apple CarPlay

David Matthews

Posts: 378   +70
Staff member

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto have become nearly ubiquitous as automakers introduce updates to their car models. Some manufacturers, such as Mazda, offer the phone mirroring technology as an extra feature on higher trim levels. Others, like Hyundai, make it standard across all trims. However, it seems only BMW will actually charge continuously for access.

The German automaker confirmed that it will indeed charge a yearly subscription fee of $80 per year for the 2019 model year and future models. The service will initially be free for a year before owners have to shell out money. Alternatively, new BMW owners can pay $300 for a "lifetime subscription" which is technically only 20 years.

Realistically, if you can afford a BMW, paying $80/year or $300 for 20 years probably isn't that big of a deal. Still, it's laughable that BMW would charge money for technology that's completely free on rival luxury brands and even more affordable brands. It's also notable that Android Auto isn't even offered at all, although the Google Assistant can be linked to the BMW mobile app.

There has not been any official word from Apple regarding their stance on turning CarPlay into a subscription service. However, the concept seems ridiculous considering all of the processing happens on the smartphone. There doesn't seem to be a huge cost in implementing CarPlay for the car makers, so using the subscription service to recoup installation costs doesn't seem likely.

On a related note, Apple is adding a couple of new features to CarPlay once iOS 13 launches this fall. One of which is the new multifunction layout which shows controls and information for multiple apps at the same time. Unfortunately, new BMW owners will have to pay for the privilege of using those new features.

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mrtraver

Posts: 457   +182
This is old news, so I don't know what changed to make me see it on three different sites today, but I am glad to finally see some outrage around it. Although I will never purchase a BMW (or Apple product) so it does not affect me directly, I can see other makes trying something similar with Android Auto if BMW does not get too much backlash over this.
 

pencea

Posts: 212   +158
Never was a fan of BMW cars, and never will be in this lifetime.

Sucks for BMW customers though.
 

toooooot

Posts: 1,249   +579
Good addition to their already average car quality. More plastic parts in the engine! Faster degrading electronic components.

Make seats peel after 5 years as well. People should be he holstering them more often for a humble fee of 4444.34

I also recommend a service that renews paint on the cars each ear. Make it shine like new for only 6000.00 per year.

I have many awesome ideas of how to make bmw cars better. Just hire me and will bring bmw to new heights in no time.
 

brucek

Posts: 422   +483
I bought a SUV last year, and after carefully researching a bunch of factors, I basically felt that mechanically they were mostly the same. So I bought the Honda because it had Car Play and the Toyota and Nissan didn't. (And you should've seen the Nissan salesman face fall when I asked -- he must have known right then he was losing this sale.)

I don't know how many customers there are like me, but BMW is messing up bad for that segment. The emotional insult of charging a subscription gives offense of a magnitude far greater than just the $80/year cost. It says BMW does not respect what I respect and they therefore aren't the car for me. Even purely rationally, once they've set any subscription price, no matter how low, what they are signalling is they are retaining control of my access to CarPlay and they could revoke it or charge punitively more for it in the future. So not interested in that deal.
 
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Fearghast

Posts: 262   +171
Privilege not to use 20 years old, Windows CE based "entertainment" system in my car? Count me in :-D
Seriously, does any brand offer an OS for its car you can say "that's good, responsive experience"?
Any car I saw, even the brand new one feels like I am going back to Android 1.6/Windows CE experience.
 

brucek

Posts: 422   +483
Seriously, does any brand offer an OS for its car you can say "that's good, responsive experience"?
Any car I saw, even the brand new one feels like I am going back to Android 1.6/Windows CE experience.
It gets worse. Even if there was a brand that had a comparable experience at time of purchase, it would still rapidly fall behind. Cars can remain in service for 10 - 20 years; phones can be replaced much more frequently. I believe some/most car makers don't even update their software ever once the car leaves the factory; but even if they did, they're still stuck with aging hardware as time goes by. Plus the user's phone has all the user's data (contacts, music, destinations, etc), and access to its wireless service plan. It just makes more sense to let the phone provide these functions.
 

amghwk

Posts: 736   +511
Problem is, if BMW makes this work and people have no gripe paying for it, other brands may follow suit on this paid model.

I can see "Premium" features added to justify the asking price in the not too distant future.
 

fluffydestroyer

Posts: 117   +49
And Google isn't making a lawsuit against BMW or even Apple for this ? I'm surprised. If I was google I would surely send a letter to BMW to correct this and make sure my technology is available in their car since it is everywhere else or lets go to court. It seems like this is illegal. Not an expert of course but I'm pretty it is illegal.
 

nismo91

Posts: 1,045   +96
Privilege not to use 20 years old, Windows CE based "entertainment" system in my car? Count me in :-D
Seriously, does any brand offer an OS for its car you can say "that's good, responsive experience"?
Any car I saw, even the brand new one feels like I am going back to Android 1.6/Windows CE experience.
I am currently using an 'universal' android v7.0 head-unit (radio) in my car. it has a capacitive screen so it is quick to response and has more than 1 usb port. mine has 3 ports and heck I even plugged some usb hub so it is now reading 6 usb flash drives quickly. the interface is the biggest issue with the unit, as most of these chinese radio are unbranded, so you'll have to choose the interface instead of the brand.

I am also signed in to the same google account as my phone and my latest google maps search is present in the car radio. you don't have to worry about map updates at all. I love it. if I were to upgrade my new car I'd replace it with something like this rather than "android auto" solution which is just a "client".

it doesn't take a minute to start from "cold" boot, and you can set it to "sleep for x mins" before it shuts down when you have removed your key. don't forget access to google play apps such as torque, mxplayer, etc. my unit even comes with toyota cable so I just had to hide a GPS antenna on the windshield and I don't have to do alot of wiring except for my front and rear cam install. front cam works either as an "app" or automatic for about 10sec after your transmission is out of reverse.

my only gripe with my radio is the capacitive touch panel which has no feedback. thankfully it being a universal product I decided to get another universal battery-operated stick-on steering remote control in my steering wheel. it doesn't look perfect but it is just 25$ instead of 400$ new steering wheel and airbag assembly. you should be able to find plenty of these android radio reviews on youtube.

back to the topic, I am surprised if most bmw last 20 years before something vital breaks. but just be informed that these so called android OS "radio" are also available the older BMWs like E90, F10, F30 etc and some even came with their own "idrive controller". at least now you can ditch the aging system easily.
 
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I think the issue BMW is having is they cannot sell their navigation, weather, or other in car services when consumers are using apple car play. Apple Car Play does not charge you for apple maps, google maps, weather, etc. So most people are not paying for BMW's services. How can they make that money back? Charge for access to Apple Car Play. They cannot remove Apple Car Play completely or they will lose sales due to not being competitive with features. Maybe Android auto has not been added due to the loss of funding due to people using Apple Car play. The majority of people own Android devices. Nobody would use BMW's navigation, weather, etc. So they are going to explore trying the subscription model and get some kind of money each year.
The alternative would be for them to invest heavily into making a revolutionary system making their navigation and other services better than Apple Car Play and Google's. The issue there is they are a car company and not a tech giant. Google maps and even Apple maps are just so good they would not be able to complete.

This move is bad for the consumer and I do not like it; but I am giving a business perspective.
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 5,321   +3,424
I think the issue BMW is having is they cannot sell their navigation, weather, or other in car services when consumers are using apple car play. Apple Car Play does not charge you for apple maps, google maps, weather, etc. So most people are not paying for BMW's services. How can they make that money back? Charge for access to Apple Car Play. They cannot remove Apple Car Play completely or they will lose sales due to not being competitive with features. Maybe Android auto has not been added due to the loss of funding due to people using Apple Car play. The majority of people own Android devices. Nobody would use BMW's navigation, weather, etc. So they are going to explore trying the subscription model and get some kind of money each year.
The alternative would be for them to invest heavily into making a revolutionary system making their navigation and other services better than Apple Car Play and Google's. The issue there is they are a car company and not a tech giant. Google maps and even Apple maps are just so good they would not be able to complete.

This move is bad for the consumer and I do not like it; but I am giving a business perspective.
So what you are saying is BMW tried to glom onto a fad of the current generation, crApple Products, to get crApple addicted drivers to turn to BMW - because its BMW, of course, but ended up shooting themselves in the foot.

Hilarious! Justly deserved by BMW, IMO.

I feel sorry for those who bite. Not only do then end up paying for this, but they also end up paying for one of the car industry's worst companies for reliability.
 

Davin Peterson

Posts: 10   +4
Toyota and BMW are the two auto manufacturers that have refused to support Android Auto. The Toyota Supra which is made BMW also will charge for Apple Car Play and also doesn't have Android Auto. Toyota is slowly beginning to add Android Auto. They just introduced Apple Car Play this year