Last month’s introduction of a subscription service for Apple CarPlay may have caused current and prospective BMW owners to spit out their drinks at the news, but Munich says it is not merely going after their money. According to Car and Driver, the official explanation from a representative is that the company uses different hardware compared to other carmakers.

You see, BMW’s version of CarPlay is wireless, dispensing with the wired connection required on other cars. This incurs additional complexity and, as you might imagine, cost – although it should be mentioned that, depending on the country, the company already charges extra for CarPlay preparation, bundled in with other connectivity features as part of the Connected Package Plus.

But the article lists another possible reason for the move – the ability to provide support for CarPlay functionality throughout the life of the car (or at least, throughout the period of your subscription). As Apple continues to iterate iOS, there’s a chance that a software update could break compatibility with the car.

The research and development that goes into keeping the in-car technology in step with the technology in your pocket also costs money, time and resources, which has to be reaped back somehow. The good news for consumers is that charging for the service at least puts the onus on BMW to make sure their cars’ CarPlay connectivity stays functional in the years to come – something that’s not necessarily true for other carmakers.

Of course, the subscription model is a slippery slope, the publication notes. How much longer will it be before BMW starts charging for things like additional horsepower though a paywall, for example? And how will other carmakers react to the news – will they start offering a subscription for CarPlay as well?

The company previously said that offering up CarPlay as a subscription service was in obligation to an Apple directive, not BMW’s, and that charging for the service makes it cheaper for those willing to forgo CarPlay. This, we assume, includes Android users, although the company still does not offer Android Auto support.

Either way, the CarPlay subscription is here and now, including in Malaysia. All BMW models sold in Malaysia are fitted with CarPlay preparation as standard, but the service costs RM513 for 12 months, RM799 for three years and RM1,899 for unlimited usage. Still not convinced? You can opt for a trial that costs RM5 per month, for a maximum of three months.