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Apple CarPlay now free for all new BMW models

Welcome to the right side of history, BMW.

No more fees!

BMW has released Apple CarPlay from the digital shackles. A company representative told Roadshow it will no longer charge owners to use the smartphone mirroring technology in any of its new vehicles in the US.

Specifically, this will apply to 2019 and 2020 model year cars and owners will no longer need to cough up $80 per year to use the popular infotainment technology. Apple has long said it does not charge automakers to include the feature in its vehicles, though it's unclear what kind of costs automakers may incur when making their own vehicle systems compatible. Whether other automakers cleverly hid these costs or not, BMW took a different route and was, since 2018, the only automaker to charge for the service.

That, according to a BMW representative, didn't sit well with its customers. After listening to feedback from owners, BMW decided to remove the charge for CarPlay, the representative said, in an effort to "make the experience the best possible." This also clears up what will become of fifth-generation Toyota Supra owners, who were caught in limbo with BMW's odd decision to charge for the software. The Supra may be a Toyota, but it borrows, well, a lot from BMW.

Apple CarPlay has quickly democratized features like audio streaming and navigation. Apple made the big step in the past couple of years to even allow users to operate Google Maps and Waze via CarPlay. Originally, users we restricted to running Apple Maps. What the popularity of the system means for automakers and their often profitable embedded navigation systems remains to be seen.

The automaker will contact BMW owners directly in the near future to inform them of the policy change, which will surely be met with open arms.

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