BMW+CarPlay: Why does BMW hate their customers?

Starting in January 2018, we started hearing about BMW’s plans to charge new BMW customers $80 a year to use Apple CarPlay in their cars. These plans were widely called stupid. BMW wants to charge for both the option and the ability to use it. But it gets worse: BMW issued a software update for the rear-view camera. The update took CarPlay away from customers who previously had it working. This is bullshit.

It’s insulting to both pay for a feature in a car, and be charged to use it. It’s even more offensive to have the feature and have it taken away as a part of a goddamn safety update.

BMW, what are you even doing? This move to charging for CarPlay was supported by BMW Technology Product Manager Donald Smith. Smith told Engadget back in 2018, “This allows the customer to switch devices. A lot of people buy [CarPlay] and think it’s OK, but sometimes they stop using it or switch to Android.”

“This allows the customer to switch devices”

Bullshit. Plenty of aftermarket devices and other OEMs enable Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and you can switch devices 10 times a day if you like.

“A lot of people buy [CarPlay] and think it’s OK, but sometimes they stop using it or switch to Android.”

So what? People don’t always use the built-in SatNav either, it doesn’t mean it should stop working. BMW drivers anecdotally don’t use turn signals, it doesn’t mean you disable them.

BMW should acknowledge that CarPlay imposes no ongoing support maintenance costs, and charge for the feature precisely once: when you purchase the vehicle. Stop this subscription bullshit.

And Donald Smith, whose LinkedIn bio reads,

“Roughly thirteen years ago, while working full-time as a systems analyst and studying for an MBA course in financial accounting, I grabbed the latest copy of Motor Trend for some well-deserved and needed distraction. Upon reading the preview of the upcoming E90 BMW 3 Series, I felt compelled to debit my driveway and credit my payables.”


should feel goddamn ashamed of writing that biography, and ashamed of defending this bullshit charge.

BMW should restore CarPlay functionality to people who had it taken away in the update for the backup camera, a safety feature, as soon as possible.

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