So after testing out the new BMW iDrive system in an X6, I remarked on how the car didn’t have CarPlay. The salesperson told me that it was “available for an annual subscription fee”. This is nuts – this is xDRIVE 30d M Sport sells for somewhere in the range of $128,000. And it doesn’t come with something that a Nissan Micra has fitted!
My issue is not that this is an option, as they’re a great way for buyers to make the perfect car, but that it is an ongoing subscription. At the price point (and many at much lower) it’s just been included in the build price of the car.
A subscription, reportedly $80 per year. needs to provide ongoing value to be worth it. A subscription carwashing service makes sense, I get my car washed and that’s valuable every time I use it. Now Apple CarPlay is really a once off thing – you buy the car and its there, much like the electric windows, auto wipers and the built-in iDrive system. It doesn’t create ongoing value for me so why pay for it on an ongoing nature. And it’s not like its some cutting-edge service, its been around since March 10, 2014, some 4 years ago.
Other manufacturers like Tesla have zero support for Apple Carplay or its Android equivalent. I make the case that the reason for this is that their own infotainment system is far superior to CarPlay. Have you ever read or heard anyone complaining about its lack of CarPlay?
Just looking at the business case for it I bet Apple doesn’t charge manufacturers an ongoing fee, probably a once off licence per unit. So this seems to be a pretty clear-cut cash grab, a classic price gouge that techy BMW buyers will be slogged with.