BMW is the only carmaker to charge for Apple CarPlay integration for its vehicles. It's understandable why BMW does this (more money), but that doesn't make it any less annoying. Yet BMW is one-upping itself with plans to turn the one-time fee for CarPlay into a yearly subscription service.
The German carmaker announced the move during the Detroit Auto Show, and it's bound to piss off iPhone owners who want CarPlay in their BMW. Right now, BMW charges a one-time fee of $300 to add CarPlay integration. Just last year, it introduced wireless CarPlay to its cars with the 5 Series through iDrive 6.0. Now it's planning to turn that into an yearly $80 fee as part of a subscription service meant to deliver more choices to its customers.
"This allows the customer to switch devices," stated Don Smith, BMW technology product manager off BMW North America. "A lot of people buy [CarPlay] and think it's okay, but sometimes they stop using it or switch to Android."
What we can ascertain from Smith's statement, the reasoning for this is that BMW's owners who buy CarPlay and switch from iPhone to Android during the ownership end up not using the service. The annual fee will give them more choice with the ability to cancel the service or switch to another service like Android Auto.
Here's where that reasoning runs into problems: BMW doesn't currently support Android Auto for any of its cars. With the introduction of the subscription based service, Android Auto support may very well be in the pipeline to deliver the choice Smith touts, but it's not here yet. Smith did say Google Assistant will arrive to BMWs later in 2018.
Even so, every other car manufacturer offers both services, CarPlay and Android Auto, free of charge.