German carmaker BMW is expected to finally roll out Apple CarPlay across its entire range and scrap costly subscription fees from next year – and introduce Android Auto for the first time.
BMW is the only car company to charge a hefty $479 over three years for the Apple CarPlay smartphone mirroring technology – on models it is available – even though it’s standard on a $15,990 Kia Picanto.
BMW says its Apple CarPlay system is more costly to integrate into its iDrive infotainment network, even though other car brands with similarly complex systems such as Audi, Mercedes and Mazda don’t charge extra for it.
Speaking at the Australian media preview of the new BMW 1 Series, the boss of BMW Australia, Vikram Pawah said: “We always listen to our customers. What we heard until now was that only 50 per cent of people use Apple, it’s not everybody. We believe you should charge only people who are going to use it, not everyone.”
When asked if BMW would ever make Apple CarPlay and Android Auto freely available on any or all of its models, Mr Pawah said: “I would love to make all the options to be free, but it always depends on what the technology is for the future. Over time the cost of technology becomes affordable for everyone.”
When pressed further on timing, Mr Pawah said: “There is nothing to share at the moment, hold on for a month. We will talk about it again after a month, but as for now this (car) is being launched with a one year subscription.”
While the BMW Australia boss stopped short of confirming the introduction of Apple Car Play and Android Auto across all models – and without a subscription fee – CarAdvice understands the announcement next month will confirm this.
As with other recent BMWs, the new generation 1 Series hatch has Apple CarPlay included in the first 12 months for free, but customers will be charged $479 for a three-year subscription at the end the first year. It is the only car company to do so.
BMW says in addition to its infotainment being more complex, its Apple CarPlay system has a more expensive wireless connection, which eliminates the need to connect smartphones through a USB port.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are almost universally standard on new cars these days. The smartphone mirroring tech aims to improve road safety by eliminating the need – and the temptation – for drivers to handle their phones while driving.
It brings key functions from the phone to the car’s built-in infotainment screen and streamlines voice-activated functions.