Recap: Luxury carmaker BMW drew quite a bit of criticism earlier this year when it confirmed its plans to charge new customers an $80 annual premium to gain access to Apple’s “CarPlay” software.
Given the high price tags luxury BMW vehicles come with, the whole situation was laughable, to say the least. As we noted in our initial coverage, the sorts of people who are going to buy a high-end BMW vehicle probably won’t miss the extra $80 a year, but it was still viewed as a distasteful business tactic by the public.
Previously, BMW charged a single $300 fee for CarPlay but pivoted to the annual subscription model in a likely attempt to bring in more consistent profits. We should note, however, that the first year of CarPlay usage was free under this new payment system, so it wasn’t entirely without merit.
Still, it seems BMW has taken consumer feedback into account now. The company is backtracking on its decision to charge customers an annual subscription, and will now offer CarPlay for free — so long as your vehicle has the latest version of BMW’s ConnectedDrive infotainment software installed.
If your car doesn’t support the software, you’ll need to pay the original $300 sum for lifetime CarPlay access. One might argue that charging for CarPlay at all is a bit odd, especially since many competing carmakers (luxury or otherwise) offer it or Android Auto for free by default, but that’s a topic for another day.