BMW Changes Mind on Apple CarPlay Subscriptions
BMW is walking back its controversial decision to charge an annual subscription for the use of Apple’s CarPlay in its vehicles. We quickly complained about it, worried that it would spur a new trend of charging customers for the privilege of accessing what is normally standard content.
The German manufacturer originally said the subscription fee was necessary in order to offer wireless updates aimed at keeping the user interface evolving with phones. This was soon proven not to be the case, as other manufacturers already offer that exact service for free. BMW wanted to charge $80 a year (or $300 for a 240-month plan) after providing CarPlay free of charge for 12 months. Now, it will be gratis.
The flip was confirmed by AutoCar for the UK market, though a BMW spokesperson confirmed to us that the same will be true in the United States. The only exception will be on older models that have yet to switch over to the brand’s latest operating system (7.0). People buying those cars may still be stuck with the company’s old system of having to make a one-time purchase to access CarPlay — which still kind of sucks.
As to the claim of BMW needing to lock customers into a subscription fee for the privilege of syncing their iPhone with their car, Apple has said it does not charge manufacturers any fees for using CarPlay. Still, this nugget coming to light may not have been the cause of BMW’s change of heart. Most owners we’ve spoken with seem to prefer the manufacturer’s proprietary and much-improved iDrive, since most said they had a compatible phone.
This leaves us wondering how many shoppers even wanted to bother with a CarPlay subscription. Some must have, however, which raises the question of refunds. If you decided to opt in, you might want to ask if you’re entitled to get your money back.
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