The Tesla app for iPhone allows car owners to interact directly with their vehicles at any time and from anywhere. Tesla owners can control a plethora of functions such as lock or unlock, heat or cool the vehicle, check the charging progress in real time, locate the vehicle, control media, vent or close the panoramic roof, among other capabilities.
The app also provides a Premium Connectivity subscription, granting access to exclusive features in addition to Standard Connectivity features to enhance the driving experience. Subscribers to the Premium Connectivity service have the benefit of live traffic visualization, satellite-view maps, Caraoke, Internet browsing, video, and music streaming via an active plan for $9.99 per month.
One significant feature of the Premium Connectivity service is the Sentry Mode-View Live Camera. This allows Tesla owners to view the surroundings of select Tesla models in real time through exterior cameras via the mobile app.
At present, the Tesla app for iPhone enables users to subscribe to Premium Connectivity via Tesla’s own billing system, circumventing the App Store. This approach means that Tesla does not pay a commission to Apple for all in-app purchases via its App Store, which typically ranges between 15% to 30%.
While Apple has so far permitted Tesla to offer its paid-premium tier as the company utilizes its own hardware for these features, the “View Live Camera” functionality utilizes the iPhone to display the stream. This puts the feature within the scope of App Store in-app billing requirements.
In the event of Apple reconsidering its stance or becoming aware of Tesla’s skirting of the App Store guidelines, Tesla may have to hand over a substantial commission to the tech giant.
As reported by Gizmodo, if Tesla were required to comply with Apple’s payment policies, the iPhone maker could potentially collect millions of dollars in commissions over the years.