CarPlay is Apple's driver-friendly interface for Maps, Messages, Music, and more. Through partnership deals with major manufacturers, CarPlay get embedded in automobile infortainment centers and then syncs over Lightning or Wi-Fi with our iPhones. There's a small licensing fee involved for the technology, but CarPlay is essentially free.
So, of course, BMW wants to charge customers $80 a year for it.
Tim Stevens, writing for CNET, calls it next-level gouging:
John Gruber, responding on Daring Fireball:
There have been calls for Apple to yank BMW's license or otherwise intervene to stop the jackassary being perpetrated under one of its brands.
I'd like to see something simpler and more flexible: I'd like to see Apple make CarPlay available directly in iOS.
You should be able to take an iPhone — or iPad, if you want something bigger — and mount it on your dashboard, and have it go into CarPlay-style interface mode.
It wouldn't have access to in-car Siri mics or the deeper aspects of the Infotainment system. If you want that, you'd still have to get a car with built-in CarPlay. But for people with cars that by virtue of their vendor or year don't have CarPlay as an option – or for people who don't want to pay BMW's insulting tax — it would offer at least a subset of important functionality on-device.
Still, Siri's verbosity would be amped up. Screens for Maps and Now Playing would be made bigger and much more glanceable.
Doing that would take pressure off of consumers and put it squarely on vendors who, if they want to offer CarPlay as a value-add, would really have to make it a value-add to beat the on-device experience.
Good screens. Good capacitive touch. Good, beam-forming mics. Good integration with the speaker system.
That way, the very next time a BMW tried to charge a customer $100 a year for CarPlay, the customer could get in, mount their iPhone, bring up the on-device CarPlay, blare Cee-Lo Green. And peel away.
Google has already done this with Android Auto. I'd love to see Apple do this with CarPlay in iOS 12
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Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.