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iPad software licensing agreement points to paid upgrades

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By Charles Starrett

Contributing Editor
Published: Tuesday, March 30, 2010
News Categories: Apple, iPad

According to the iPad end-user software licensing agreement posted online, iPad users will receive free software updates from Apple, up to and including the first major release, and then have to pay for upgrades afterwards. This particular portion of the agreement, published online by Mac Rumors, states: “Apple will provide you any iPad OS software updates that it may release from time to time, up to and including the next major iPad OS software release following the version of iPad OS software that originally shipped from Apple on your iPad, for free. For example, if your iPad originally shipped with iPad 3.x software, Apple would provide you with any iPad OS software updates it might release up to and including the iPad 4.x software release. Such updates and releases may not necessarily include all of the new software features that Apple releases for newer iPad models.” Currently, iPhone owners are provided free software updates for at least the first two years of the device’s life, while iPod touch owners are normally charged for major updates. New iPhones and iPod touch units, however, have typically debuted with either a new or very recent version of iPhone OS installed, whereas the iPad will ship with the nine-month old iPhone OS 3.x software, with the possibility of iPhone OS 4.0 being released later this year.

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Comments

1

I know people are going to scream, but look at one very simple fact: You buy a computer, you don’t get free upgrades to a new OS (unless you buy at the end of an OS cycle in which case you get the new one)
Why do people expect to get free OS upgrades (full version) on iPads and iPods?
The iPhone is subsidized.

Posted by sb on March 30, 2010 at 6:39 AM (PDT)

2

In a closed system the operating system should be free.  It is in the best interest of Apple to keep everyone up-to-date for virus protection and to have a standard feature set. It makes support easier and keeps your competitors from gaining a feature advantage.

It is also in the best interest of Apple to keep the developer’s happy by only having to design for the most current operating system. Do we really want the Windows model on a mobile device? Will developers have to make versions for iPad OS, 3.2, 4, 5, etc?  If people have to pay, many just won’t update at all.  On a PC you have the option of installing other systems, so fine. Charge for your OS, but then let other mobile OS’s onto your phone.

Posted by stevehops on March 31, 2010 at 9:51 AM (PDT)

3

You have to be kidding? 
I don’t even know where to begin in response to this.

No viruses to worry about here.  And Apple DOES provide dot updates for free to handle such things.
Your second point on “gaining feature advantage” make zero sense.

As for keeping developers happy - where is this model of your employed now?  I’ve never seen it on any device I own - and I own a lot.
Also keep in mind many people DON’T upgrade when they are made available.  You can’t force this on folks, and many find a working solution and stick with it.

Developers only have to design for whatever they choose to.  It works in the computing world, it seems to work here too.
I simply don’t follow your reasoning at all here…

Posted by sb on March 31, 2010 at 10:23 AM (PDT)

4

@sb, good move getting on the front page with such a distortion of reality. You don’t get a whole new OS upgrade for free, but you most certainly do get all the upgrades for the version you bought for free, unless you were complacent enough to buy it from Apple.

I was a Mac user in the throughout most of the 90s. I accepted the paid upgrades for incremental OS changes just like all the sheep still do. Then I got a PC. MS provided updates and support for Win98SE long after I was using that machine, for free. Then I had a Win2K machine, again, free upgrades to that long after I had bought a WinXP machine. That WinXP machine continues to receive free updates and upgrades even though it’s now been replaced by a Win7 machine.

Three full blown service packs and MS still calls it just “Windows XP”, Apple would have stretched those three service packs out over a half dozen or more point upgrades and charged for every single one of them and someone like you would have said that’s just the way it works. Well, no, it is not how it works. You pay to *change* the OS to a major overhaul version, but you only do so every few years at the most, you don’t shell out once or twice a year like clockwork because they added improved wireless drivers.

Don’t even get me started on the many fine Linux based OSs out there other than Apple’s OSX that can be had gratis forever so long as you’re willing to wait a short while after each point release.

Posted by Code Monkey in Midstate New York on March 31, 2010 at 2:02 PM (PDT)

5

@#4 . good job showing your true colors.

You have a choice.  Use what you wish.  Apple provides updates (understand the word here) to ALL OSes for free.  iPhone, Mac, whatever.
If you don’t deem it worthy, don’t buy.
As for MS v Apple.  You have to be kidding.  Look at the price of Apples’ upgrades. Look at prices of MS upgrades. 
Now, look at how many MS OSes suck.  Apple’s don’t.
Ask folks how they liked their Vista.  I’ll wait.

You simply over-paid for your MS software to begin with, Mr. Sheep.  Enjoy grazing on that field as you wish.

Posted by sb on March 31, 2010 at 3:12 PM (PDT)

6

Let’s not to turn this into Mac-vs-Windows war.

A few points worth noting, however:

1. From the sounds of the original article, it seems that this is a better deal than the iPod touch, so a direct comparison of the two is not really fair. With the iPod touch, every major release carried an upgrade price. With the iPad, it seems like the first major update will be free, and users will only pay for the next major release after that. If this proceeds into future versions, that’s not really such a bad deal. How many original iPhone and iPod touch users even care that much about iPhone OS 3.0 for example, particularly considering that a good number of the new features that it brings aren’t even available on those devices.

2. Apple doesn’t charge for minor OS X upgrades any more than Microsoft does. You can debate that the jump from Windows XP to Windows 7 was a big one, especially when compared to the Leopard->Snow Leopard transition, but those are extreme examples in both cases, and to be fair Windows XP to Windows 7 was interrupted by Vista—it’s just that most users didn’t go there (by comparison, a jump from Tiger to Snow Leopard would be a similarly huge leap).

3. The pricing of OS versions between Microsoft and Apple is not comparable. Apple very obviously subsidizes their OS development from the hardware side of the business, since OS X only runs on Apple hardware. Further, technically speaking every retail package of OS X is an “upgrade” since you have to put it on an existing Mac which includes a previous version of OS X.  When compared with Windows upgrade pricing, it’s not actually all that far out of line.

4. At the end of the day at least it seems that Apple is being up front about this. I don’t think any consumer has a right to expect free OS updates for a given product.  It’s a nice bonus when manufacturers do this, but if they’re not going to do so, then at least consumers know what they’re buying into.

Posted by Jesse Hollington in Toronto on March 31, 2010 at 3:56 PM (PDT)

7

I spent (I believe) $20 total for two major updates to my iPod touch in three years.  I am never going to complain about that.
Apple’s “Minor upgrade” with Snow Leopard was only $29.  That was a major overhaul of the OS to rid it of legacy PPC code.  $29.  If you had bought a new Mac within ~30 days, you got it free or in the box.

I don’t know how for the life of me anyone expects OS upgrades to be free.  Would it be nice?  Sure.
I don’t expect it.
Was Office 2007 a free upgrade from 2003?
WIn 7 SHOULD have been free to any victims of Vista.  If that’s an example of good corporate behavior, I’m happy to be on the sidelines there.

So, let’s list all the major upgrades that are given out for free here…

Posted by sb on March 31, 2010 at 4:21 PM (PDT)

8

#7 - Well, both Droid updates have been for free, and have each added significant functionality, vs just adding functionality to a device that everyone else already had (i.e. copy and paste, from the last update).  And several of my other mp3 devices from other manufacturers regularly include updates that enhanced the functionality of the device free of charge.  Cowon and Zune most significanty.

Look, Appe could charge whatever it wants, and that’s within it’s rights.  Just don’t act like it’s such an outrageous act to question the cost they charge for (in many cases, like the ipod touch updates) purely incremental functionality (or finally adding things that should have been there from the first, like copy and paste).

Posted by jeff on March 31, 2010 at 5:08 PM (PDT)

9

@#8:

Jeff, one can question all they like - even an Apple fanboy like me agrees.  My AAPL also plays in my mindset.  As it should any diligent corporation.

My opinion on the Droid updates being free is this:
They’re trying to gain market share on the iPhone.  I imagine that this plays into their strategy.  Same with Zune - even more so.

Since folks think that the Apple upgrades are typically lacking, lame, or whatever, then not upgrading seems a smart choice for them.

Posted by sb on March 31, 2010 at 5:23 PM (PDT)

10

@Jesse: My point wasn’t to make this an Apple vs. Windows, my example was to illustrate that in spite of what many Apple fans tell themselves, the practices are not typical. Microsoft is about as money grubbing as they come, just see their Office line for their own version of abusing upgrade fees, yet even they understand that you can’t just keep adding numbers to your OS product version and expect people to keep ponying up the cash. People simply don’t view the OS in the way Apple wants them to view it, and as stevehops correctly pointed out, it’s a lot easier for everybody to keep as few versions of a platform out there as possible.

To be honest, if the whole version upgrades for the iPad actually warranted whole version upgrades, I’d not be so critical, but Apple likes to call OS updates whole version upgrades just because the calendar says they ought to have a new version out. I would argue that iPhone OS 3.X is *still* just 1.X by any objective measurement - looks the same, threads the same, and the list of added features are just patches to an anemic beta version shipped with the first iPhones and touches. When the change from an iPhone OS version to the next whole version feels like something more than a point release where someone forgot the point, I’ll be more likely to consider Apple being up front a positive. However, as it stands I think they’re just making sure they’ve covered their butts thoroughly so posters like sb will have their explanation to angry venters ready and waiting.

Posted by Code Monkey in Midstate New York on March 31, 2010 at 8:35 PM (PDT)

11

What’s funny is that I am content with the model Apple uses.
You are not.
And I love that.  I don’t try to persuade folks to see things my way.  I merely state that if you don’t like it, don’t participate.
YOU, OTOH, are not content with my contentment.
You’ll call me names, jab, and whine until I succumb to your way.
Won’t happen.  Find another cause.

Posted by sb on April 1, 2010 at 9:53 AM (PDT)

12

@sb, no, didn’t call you a name, nor jab, nor whine, merely pointed out that you aren’t telling the whole truth, full stop.

Content with the model, fine, I am not telling you not to be content, I am well aware that Apple has managed to do the “impossible”: build a business empire based on a consumer base that, by all logic, should not exist. Perhaps that was Steve Jobs’ true genius; not in products or software, but understanding there was a demographic out there that didn’t give two bits about following normal economic models if you just figured out the right way to market to them. When somebody is genuinely satisfied with the way Apple does things there isn’t a reasoned argument I or anybody can make that’s going to cause them to suddenly decide, “Nope, you’re right, I hate this device that works the way I want it to, DAMN YOU JOBS!!!” wink

That position, however, is a far cry from your original position of claiming there was some faulty perception exception being made for those who complain at the way Apple charges for insignificant upgrades to the iPhone OS device line (and OSX as well), rather than the fact that they are simply responding to the way Apple conducts business outside of what they’ve been led to expect by the rest of the tech market wherein paid OS upgrades are years apart and gadget drivers and software are usually free for the life of the product

Posted by Code Monkey in Midstate New York on April 5, 2010 at 11:55 AM (PDT)

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