Many of BMW’s newly designed 2019 models feature plenty of enticing upgrades wrapped into nice package deals for fans of the vehicle manufacturer. However, mixed in with the changes in BMW’s new models is one detail that might not just impact BMW models, but the car industry in general. BMW used to offer Apple CarPlay in its new vehicles for the price of $300, meaning users could pay one time and have CarPlay in their cars for the vehicle’s life. However, BMW changed that option with their 2019 models and is now charging a subscription fee for CarPlay access.

BMW’s Apple CarPlay Subscription

Instead of offering the CarPlay for life upgrade option, BMW decided to change the process for their 2019 models. BMW customers will get their first year of Apple CarPlay for free. However, after, users will be required to pay $80 a year to subscribe for access to CarPlay after their first year. BMW promises that it is easy to renew your subscription and you don’t have to take your car into the dealership to re-subscribe. Instead, you can simply update your subscription service by using your car’s infotainment system.

BMW is the first car manufacturer to charge its customers a subscription fee to use Apple CarPlay and it’s obvious how beneficial those fees could be for BMW. For example, charging $80 per year to use the subscription each year means BMW will make more money after four years that it could have made offering CarPlay as an option. So, it seems BMW may be setting an unwanted trend for Apple CarPlay users in the vehicle industry.

What About Used Cars?

If you are buying a used car or already have a BMW with CarPlay as an option, there are a few things you need to consider:

  • BMW’s subscription service means that if you buy a used or certified pre-owned car that is a BMW, you’ll have to setup your CarPlay subscription service in a similar manner, like you bought a new car.
  • The good news is that if you already have a BMW vehicle with Apple CarPlay added as an option for $300 when you bought it, it will continue to function without a subscription.
  • Many vehicle owners now wonder if Mini, who is owned by BMW, will also be making a similar change and requiring people to subscribe to Apply CarPlay.

Will This Change the CarPlay Market?

Many are wondering if BMW will set the trend for all car manufacturers eventually offering CarPlay as a subscription service. After all, once one company starts a profit-making trend, it’s typical for other companies in the same industry to jump on board. In fact, ideas for subscription services have already come to fruition with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Apple Music for CarPlay. FCA’s vehicles that come with CarPlay now offer a six-month free trial of Apple Music, with current subscribers getting a three-month free trial.

It’s safe to say that other subscription services mixed with features of Apple CarPlay are likely to follow the growing subscription service trends initially started by BMW.

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