BMW has decided that it will charge customers an annual fee if they want to enjoy CarPlay in the latest vehicles.
It is the first car manufacturer to make Apple's platform a subscription service. Most now include CarPlay as standard, or as an optional feature that lasts as long as the car.
BMW is known for its innovation and design skill. Fans pay a premium to enjoy "the ultimate driving experience" – and they usually get the best technology.
The latest BMW 5 Series can rely on your garage. The new 3 Series boasts laser light and acoustic window windows that promise to block outside noise.
And yet BMW is behind everyone else when it comes to CarPlay.
BMW's scandalous fees for CarPlay
It took BMW longer than most car manufacturers to support CarPlay, and it doesn't come cheap. The company charges $ 300 to add the platform to existing cars with a built-in navigation system.
If you want CarPlay in a BMW from 2019, you can forget about that one-time fee. In fact, you will enjoy the first year for free. But every year with CarPlay access after that will cost you $ 80.
That's a pretty outrageous question. Especially when you consider that many vehicle manufacturers – even the less expensive ones – now offer CarPlay and Android Auto for free as standard.
Even those who make CarPlay optional and take an initial fee for the upgrade will not ask you to continue coughing for it every year.
Will it work?
It is too early to say whether BMW's plan will pay off.
You can argue that if you pay a premium for a high end vehicle, you can afford the $ 80 annual fee for a useful feature. But it is also the point.
BMW does not install special hardware to enable CarPlay. So it will cost the German company very little to just activate it by default and offer it by default on compatible systems.
The decision to squeeze more out of the consumer is unnecessarily greedy. If it pays, it may encourage other car manufacturers to do the same. But here's to hope the market forces BMW to change its attitude.
Does Apple allow this?
It is unclear how Apple feels if other companies charge for access to the platform.
It is understandable that vehicle manufacturers may require a one-time fee to install the necessary hardware required by CarPlay. So Apple probably has no problem with that.
But to charge an annual fee to offer what is to be a free service in vehicles that already support it, is uncharted territory. We do not yet know what Apple's policy is for it.
We've contacted Apple for comment, and we'll update this story as soon as we get an answer.