BMW charging annually for Apple’s CarPlay is why Apple should build CarPlay into iOS 12

“CarPlay is Apple’s driver-friendly interface for Maps, Messages, Music, and more. Through partnership deals with major manufacturers, CarPlay get embedded in automobile infortainment centers and then syncs over Lightning or Wi-Fi with our iPhones. There’s a small licensing fee involved for the technology, but CarPlay is essentially free,” Rene Ritchie writes for iMore. “So, of course, BMW wants to charge customers $80 a year for it.”

“There have been calls for Apple to yank BMW’s license or otherwise intervene to stop the jackassary being perpetrated under one of its brands,” Ritchie writes. “I’d like to see something simpler and more flexible: I’d like to see Apple make CarPlay available directly in iOS.”

Ritchie writes, “You should be able to take an iPhone — or iPad, if you want something bigger — and mount it on your dashboard, and have it go into CarPlay-style interface mode.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Yes. This would help prevent vehicle makers from obscenely trying to monetize Apple’s CarPlay.

We’ve been thinking about such things since before iPhone existed. Some blasts from the past:

It’s very simple, really; take a current CD/Cassette/AM/FM car stereo and replace the cassette slot with an iPod slot. With a few changes to the display and some controls, Apple would have a beautiful new ‘iTunes Car Stereo’ just in time to roll it out in Best Buy stores nationwide for the holidays.SteveJack, MacDailyNews, August 7, 2003

We still want head units that accept iPods like they would an 8-Track tape: stick in the iPod, dock-connector first, and it can be controlled from the head unit and/or the steering wheel while simultaneously charging the iPod’s battery. What’s taking so long?! — MacDailyNews, September 23, 2004

We just want an in-dash unit with a simple slot that accepts the iPod like an 8-Track tape… The in-dash unit’s display and controls would mirror and control the iPod’s functions. That would seem to be the simplest, easiest idea; one that would sell and be explained to the average car buyer easily. Come on, Apple, partner up with some large head unit makers that supply major auto makers and get this thing designed, built, and installed!MacDailyNews, October 21, 2004

Vehicle makers add Apple CarPlay support – January 16, 2018
Toyota is finally adding Apple CarPlay – January 16, 2018
Wireless Apple CarPlay finally goes on sale – July 5, 2017
CarPlay: The best incarnation of Apple’s ecosystem – October 12, 2016


  1. An iPhone Plus would be the perfect size to replace a double din radio

    CDs are mostly gone, why not get rid of the radio as well?

    I’m honestly surprised companies haven’t made iPhone adapters with an amplifier so that you could just plug it right into the car in place of the radio…

    Heck, maybe even add a AM/FM tuner that the iPhone could make use of over lightning…

    Used iPhones cost roughly the same as a decent CarPlay deck and they could provide the same or better experience as a radio that connects to the iPhone (provided a company made something to connect it to the car speakers / handsfree)

    1. I can’t remember what it’s like in American cars ( the last vehicle I hired in the USA was an SUV and I can’t remember if the radio was modular ), but in Europe most car radios are highly integrated into the car’s systems and there is no standard DIN slot any more, nor has there been for maybe fifteen years.

      If I tweak the air conditioning, it’s shown on the screen, if a fault is detected with the tyre pressure, it’s shown on the screen. If I want to lock all the doors from the inside, it’s a button adjacent to the radio controls, so too is the switch for the hazard warning lights.

      If I wanted to install a different radio, I would need to find somewhere to mount it as there is no way of removing the one that’s built in.

  2. I’m not surprised that BMW are behaving in this appalling manner. If you’ve ever had any dealings with the company, you would realise that the company treats it customers as idiots and rips them off at every opportunity.

    Seeing what has happened with BMW and CarPlay demonstrates the folly of imagining that Apple could build an operating system for smart cars and then sell or licence it to existing manufacturers. Manufacturers despise the idea of Apple’s or Google’s technology in their cars and place obstacles in it’s path at every opportunity. When I bought a new car a few months ago, the way to get CarPlay was to specify the option of an expensive navigation system, which includes Carplay functionality, but of course if I had CarPlay, I wouldn’t use that manufacturer’s navigation system.

    The only viable option for Apple will be to build a car operating system and install it in Apple-designed vehicles.

    1. Sadly BMW has devolved into a totally mass production car maker, leaving it’s ultimate driving machine heritage to die. Traded my 2017 M240i for 2017 Porsche Boxster as the Beamer drove like a tank with jet engine, crappy drivability.

      1. I just got my 6th over the holidays. Was able to get out of my lease early on my 428xi. I didn’t like it, I didn’t hate it. Meh!

        So I got the 330xi. I do love it.

        Come with Car Play. Already paid for a year. Meh. Don’t want it because I won’t buy an iPhone to use it. I do have 2 iPod Pros, but that’s not what they’re for.

        The car is a joy to drive, and though the cabin interior has much room for layout and ergonomic improvement (at least we got good cup holders these days), that’s what the car is about. The onboard Navi and Voice control are spectacularly improved. I don’t see a need for neither Android or Apple Play. In fact the Navi interfaces with Android or iPhones for supplemental navigation.

    1. The middleman is whom?

      I think it is the electronic companies trying to force their networks into the car. How is Microsoft on your dashboard any different than Microsoft on your HP laptop? It isn’t. Swap the word ‘Microsoft’ for Google or Apple doesn’t change the facts. Hardware and software splintering.

      Automaker electronics may have been poor in the past, some are still lost like BMW, Toyota, Ford, and others.

      BMW’s fees are not unique, bundled upgrades and monthly service fees are what all companies crave. That’s the whole reason Apple wants a spot on the dashboard. Given how bad Apple Maps is, I don’t know why anyone would go all in with monthly nav fees, music rental, or tracking from any one Silicon Valley company. Let’s not pretend the car interfaces they offer are worth the money. Google and Apple spend all their efforts keeping people’s eyes glued to screens and are not great at car based interfaces.

  3. I’ve said this for years. My car doesn’t support CarPlay and because I only do 3,000 miles a year (public transport the rest of the time) I have no reason to get a new one any time soon. No matter how great it is CarPlay on its own is never going to be a reason on its own to buy a new car. The market for mounts for phones in cars shows that there is a huge market for this. People are clearly using their phones in their cars, the iPhone powers CarPlay as it is, so all you’re doing is using the iPhone screen rather than some overprice one that’s built into the car. It can hardly be the biggest technical challenge in the world.

    1. I have a very similar unit – Pioneer AVIC-5000NEX that I put in my 2007 nissan frontier. I’m happy with it – works well, supports bluetooth, siri and carplay nicely. I shopped for a lightly used premium SUV recently and gave up the search within days when I found that it is hard or impossible to upgrade the stereos in mercedes or bmw AND most don’t yet support carplay. Definitely made me took a look at alternatives like the Subaru forester where is much easier to swap out the older stereo for something like this pioneer unit that will give a better experience than the “luxury” brands.

  4. This subscription model is actually going to be cheaper in most cases, since there is a one-time charge of $300 now and going forward it’s $80 per year after the first year which is free. The big ripoff at BMW is that you have to purchase their navigation option which is a whopping $1,950 in most models to be eligible for the CarPlay feature, since you have to have their upgraded wide-screen center display (which only comes with the Nav option in most models) for CarPlay to function. The $80 per year after the first year is a rounding error compared to the required Nav upgrade in most models, which is especially bad since you don’t need their Nav when you can use the Maps app via CarPlay

  5. The CarPlay ripoff by BMW, which requires the $2K navigation system, is one major reason why I am going to purchase a Mercedes, which does not require the navigation gouge.

  6. A terrible idea. What about when the shape of your iPhone changes? Do you rebuild your dash? Or when different drivers in the family have different sized phones? No. Apple should consider pulling licences and stipulating that CarPlay is free at point of use.

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