BMW NZ dumps controversial Apple CarPlay pay-to-play model
Search Driven for vehicles for sale
After complaints from buyers and motoring scribblers alike BMW has put one of its most controversial tech decisions to bed.
Almost all car manufacturers — from Suzuki to Mercedes-Benz — offer phone connectivity systems like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (which handily project apps from the driver's phone onto the vehicle's infotainment system) as standard features that last the lifetime of the vehicle. BMW has on the other hand bucked the trend globally by offering Apple CarPlay as part of an optional subscription service or one-off payment since 2018. Kiwis pay a one-off $500 payment for the feature, while other markets have the option of £85, US$80, and so on on an annual basis. Naturally, it's a move that's been widely panned.
Thankfully, the German marque has seen the light. Apple CarPlay is now set to be standard on all models featuring the latest infotainment system (sadly Android Auto appears to still be off the menu) with initial reports from Europe now bolstered by confirmation by BMW New Zealand in a statement passed on to Driven.
In the statement, BMW offers that the change was at least partially spurred on by customer feedback, adding that those who have already purchased a deal on their recently purchased new BMW will have it extended to an unlimited term. There's however no word on whether those who didn't purchase the optional feature initially will be able to claim it retroactively.
"BMW Group has announced that it will offer its customers the Apple CarPlay digital platform with an unlimited runtime as part of a global BMW initiative," said the statement.
"Based on customer feedback and a commitment to providing solutions to rapidly evolving digital requirements, BMW has re-evaluated and realigned the Apple CarPlay offering. The new offering also extends beyond new BMW vehicles to existing customers who had already signed up for the service.
"Customers who have purchased a BMW with an Apple CarPlay subscription will have their subscription automatically changed to an unlimited term. In addition, BMW will re-activate Apple CarPlay and update it to unlimited for customers whose subscriptions to the service may have lapsed.
"The conversion of all eligible customers to enjoy Apple CarPlay for an unlimited time will commence immediately with the full completion expected by early 2020. All new vehicles fitted with BMW Connected Package Professional as standard will include Apple CarPlay with an unlimited runtime."
Now, how about that Android Auto, BMW? ...