Tim Stevens, writing for CNet:
Instead of a one-time, $300 fee, starting on 2019 models BMW will
charge $80 annually for the privilege of accessing Apple’s
otherwise totally free CarPlay service. You do get the first year
free, much like your friendly neighborhood dealer of another sort,
but after that it’s pay up or have your Lightning cable
On the surface this is pretty offensive, and it seemed like
something must be driving this. The official word from BMW is that
this is a change that will save many (perhaps most) BMW owners
money. Indeed, the vehicle segments where BMW plays are notorious
for short-term leases, and those owning the car for only a few
years will save money over that one-time $300. But still, the
notion of paying annually for something that’s free rubbed me
the wrong way. And, based on the feedback we saw from the article,
it rubbed a lot of you the wrong way, too.
It’s patently offensive. If BMW goes through with this, you can never truly own one of their cars. $80/year isn’t much compared to the price of the car, but on general principle this is way out there in Fuck You territory.
We bought an Acura back in 2006, paid it off within a few years, and haven’t sent a single penny to the Honda Motor Company since. Not one penny. And the car is still running great — with every single function working just as well as it did the day we drove it off the lot. The fact that everything still works well speaks to Honda’s reliability. The fact that we haven’t had to send them a money is because, you know, we own the goddamn thing.
In speaking with multiple sources at various manufacturers who
offer cars with Apple CarPlay and/or Android Auto, I was quickly
able to confirm that such fees, at least right now, do not
exist. CarPlay and Android Auto, which are free for we consumers
to use, are also provided for free for manufacturers to embed
into their cars.
CarPlay isn’t entirely free, however. As Markdown inventor and
Apple guru John Gruber pointed out on Twitter, car
manufacturers who wish to officially support Apple products must
pay a licensing fee to enter Apple’s Made for iPhone (MFi)
program, just like any other licensed accessory maker. As Gruber
was able to confirm, however (and I was able to verify), this is a
one-time fee. And, while I could not get anyone to disclose the
exact fees entailed, it’s quite clear that there’s no additional
fee for CarPlay on top of the base MFi license.
My understanding is that Apple’s fee is nominal — and unequivocally nominal in the context of the price of any new car, let alone a new BMW.
Update, 23 January 2018: I’ve now received the following clarification from Apple:
There is no fee for OEMs for either MFi or CarPlay integration. There never has been, and to my knowledge there are no plans for this to change.
There are no royalty costs or ongoing costs. The only costs to automakers are those necessary to create the hardware (this includes an authentication chip).
No fees, no royalties, no ongoing costs. Apple’s goal is to get more cars on the road that are CarPlay-enabled, not to make money from CarPlay-enabled cars.
★ Friday, 19 January 2018