BMW drops Apple CarPlay subscription fees in all markets, including Malaysia – no future charges

In July, BMW announced that it was introducing a subscription fee for Apple CarPlay use on its models, essentially charging customers for a function that is free to use in cars from other makes. Less than half a year after that big song and dance, the company has pulled the plug on the subscription fee, meaning that there will no longer be a charge imposed for Apple CarPlay use on a BMW vehicle.

The termination of the subscription fee was announced in markets such as the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom, as well as Malaysia – we reached out to BMW Malaysia earlier and was told that the company will no longer charge any subscription fees for local models equipped with Apple CarPlay.

UPDATE, DECEMBER 20: BMW Malaysia has finally now communicated that while the subscription fees have been dropped, a one-time payment is still needed to enable CarPlay on a BMW vehicle capable of running the standard, if the vehicle isn’t already enabled with Apple CarPlay.

At this juncture, all locally-assembled models – even moving into the future – are not, and as such will need that one-off Apple CarPlay Preparation, which as listed through the local BMW ConnectedDrive Customer Portal and on-board ConnectedDrive store is priced RM1,299. Current CBU models have Apple CarPlay enabled, meaning that there is no need for owners to pay anything for CarPlay access, and this will continue moving forward.

BMW drops Apple CarPlay subscription fees in all markets, including Malaysia – no future charges

At its point of introduction, BMW Malaysia offered four tiers to choose from for subscription, which was referred to as Apple CarPlay Preparation. The plans were available through the BMW ConnectedDrive Customer Portal, in the Connected Drive Store.

Pricing started with a trial option for RM5, renewable for up to three months and meant for those wanting to try out the feature before committing. A 12-month plan was priced at RM513, while a 36-month/three-year plan went for RM799 and unlimited access, for RM1,899.

The automaker initially said that it had nothing to gain from the decision to impose a fee, and that the move was actually a global directive from Apple, later explaining that the subscription was due to wireless connectivity adding complexity and incurring extra cost in integration. It’d be interesting to find out just how many users paid for the service, and how many that didn’t screamed about having to do so. Sounds like many screamed loud enough.

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