Would you pay yearly for Apple CarPlay?

O​n the face of it, BMW's recent decision is difficult to digest - but what sort of precedent does this set, and is it really that bad?

1y ago

BMW recently announced they will be charging £85 a year for Apple CarPlay in all their vehicles fitted with software version 7 or later. So, the question is, would you be willing to pay yearly for access to Apple CarPlay? I’d hazard a guess to say on the face of it, the answer would be no… but before we come to a final conclusion, let’s look in to this a little further.

BMW have reportedly said this is so they can keep costs of their vehicles down. Now I’m sure that’s a statement most of us will struggle to digest, especially when you realise customers can get a Kia Ceed that costs less than £20,000 with Apple CarPlay at no extra cost. However, previously with BMW you had pay for the ‘professional nav’ to get access to Apple CarPlay. Negating this cost, over the course of a 3-year loan deal, the packaged yearly cost actually works out cheaper. Fine, but why should you pay for the privilege of CarPlay in the first place?

Let's remove Apple CarPlay from the argument, and speak theoretically, because I appreciate in silo the CarPlay move might be tricky to digest. As technology becomes ever more important in a car, on a par (and to some possibly more important) to hardware, it’s only natural manufacturers will want to, possibly need to take advantage of this and use it as a source of revenue. We’re already accustom to paying extra for ‘better spec’ models at point of purchase, whether that’s trim, technology, paint, wheels and more.

So, the question is, would you rather your car has built in functionality for something like Apple CarPlay, TV etc. and have the opportunity to pay monthly/yearly for it or make the decision to pay for this functionality at point of purchase?

From a technology stand point, if your car has the same functionality across all models, why shouldn't you pay yearly for added functionality? Technology is now more important than ever, and it doesn’t stand still. If you buy a car, 6 months down the line, new tech is likely to be out that makes your 'new' car outdated. Due to the fast moving nature of technology, doesn't a subscription based model work better than having to choose at point of sale? It’s in some way comparable to choosing between an iPhone XR, XS or XS Plus, depending on what level of hardware you’d like, then paying your mobile phone provider for access to online services.

It’s worth noting BMW already have this option – take a look at their ‘connected services’ packages. However, and it’s a big but, a lot of these services are either asking you to pay for things you can get for free elsewhere or are a ‘nice to have’. If this is to work, these monthly/yearly services must be value add to the driver. As they stand – I’m not sure they’re enough to make customers pay the money for them, but this Apple CarPlay move might just be enough to begin the shift to where this becomes acceptable.

M​anufacturers are clearly testing out new ways to source revenue, and with multiple options there is a worry this could all become very complicated and fragmented, but until we see a clear defined direction, I think we'll see much more of this. It remains to be seen what that best direction is.

S​o, a few questions:

D​ue to the fast moving nature of technology, does a subscription based payment model work better than traditionally paying at point of sale?

With what I've mentioned in mind, what technology would need to be included in a package to make it worthwhile you paying monthly for it?

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Comments (110)

  • BMW: Are You idiot?

    BMW owner: Yes I Am and I would like to pay for that.

      1 year ago
    • Haha thanks for sharing your view Marco! I take it there’s no chance BMW will get you to pay for CarPlay ☺️

        1 year ago
    • I do not understand why I cannot use the telephone while driving, but I can wazzap/facebook/message with the car system. That's weird.

      I love my type of car, it doesn't sound even if I drive without seat belts.

        1 year ago
  • i have a fix....bluetooth

      1 year ago
    • Thanks for sharing your view Will - Bluetooth does work nicely, however beyond CarPlay, in the future, would you pay monthly for it in a package alongside automated driving capabilities etc? 😊

        1 year ago
  • no. And Sirius/XM, would you please stop calling, too? While we're at it

      1 year ago
    • Haha - I hadn’t heard of Sirius/XM Alexander, clearly companies are banking on them, but maybe they’ve got a way to go to convince people

        1 year ago
    • Yes! I just moved and they found me at my new address, sonofabitch!

        1 year ago
  • No , damn phones cost an arm a leg . Why pay more for software that you already get on your iPhone

    Cars should be cars not gadgets gizmos and pay subscriptions

    Looks the part plays the part and maintained with the mods added such as wheels engines exhaust paint work detail

    Keep them cars not gadgets I say

      1 year ago
    • Hey Stuart, thanks for sharing your view! I think the paying for software you already own is a tricky thing for people to digest - cars are certainly evermore becoming gadgets, I imagine in the future their being a larger market for stripped...

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        1 year ago
  • If they want to charge for something that free elsewhere that’s up to them, be careful as your steering wheel, seats, door handles might be next! For those that use it over the apparently brilliant prof nav, (according to car mags) maybe you want to ask you local bmw dealer to delete the prof nav and maybe demand £1500 saving, bet they won’t be happy about that! Anyway give it a decade or so and we might all be in self driving cars and BMW’s modus operandi of the ‘ultimate driving machine’ will be irrelevant. The smart money would be to switch to a Merc, Audi or something else. Anyway, off topic those BMW grills are horrendous, yet another reason to buy something else!

      1 year ago
    • Hahaha thanks for sharing your view J P! Be interesting to see if Audi or Merc follow suit

        1 year ago
    • My e-class has it included as part of the widescreen upgrade, and I’ve used it a twice in 2 years, I much prefer the merc system. Anyway my merc estate has everything I need including a 146mph top speed (top trumps and not something that will...

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        1 year ago