Opinion: Page (1) of 2 - 03/12/02 Email this story to a friend. email article Print this page (Article printing at MyDmn.com).print page facebook

Talkin' Smack: Think Exploitive

Why you should never become an early adopter of Apple technology By Dave Nagel
Let's recap. First Apple releases OS X as a public beta, charging a "nominal" $30 shipping and handling fee. Then they release the full version, jacking up the normal price of their OS to $130 and offering those who purchased the beta a $30 "discount" on the cost of the full release version of OS X. Then they came out with a 10.1 upgrade and charged another "nominal" $30 shipping and handling fee for those who needed the update, which included literally everybody because OS X 10.0 was missing so many features. And now there's something new that's so infuriating I couldn't even believe it when I heard it.

Now, I know that a whole lot of you rushed out and bought OS X when it first came out just so you could get a feel for it. At the time, there were few commercial applications available, and OS X really wasn't finished, despite its $130 price tag. So your purchase was really just for the purpose of trying it out and having it on your machine in anticipation of the day when you would be able to use it in a professional production environment. So you left it on your system but went back to OS 9 for the time being.

Meanwhile, a whole host of applications have come out for OS X, as well as massive improvements to peripheral support, including cameras, tablets, CD-Rs, printers, video devices and the like. Most recently, Adobe has announced Photoshop for OS X, and Macromedia has announced Flash for OS X. So, of course, there has been renewed interest in OS X from those who purchased it early on and would now like to make the switch. And in order to make the switch, these early adopters need to update from 10.0.x to 10.1.x.

But there's a hitch.

Apple is no longer offering the upgrade from 10.0 to 10.1. That is to say, Apple is no longer offering the upgrade at a "nominal" charge. It's now the full $130, regardless of whether you bought the full version of OS X 10.0 or just "upgraded" from the public beta.

Now, I understand that Apple has to make money. But that's what the $30 shipping and handling charge is for. I guarantee it doesn't cost them $30 to send that thing out. That's at the very least a five-time markup over what it costs them to produce the CDs and documentation and actually mail the materials to you.

I also understand that there was a hacking issue with the original 10.1 update CD and that people could pick up a full OS for $30 with a simple crack that required no programming. OK, so Apple should encode the installer differently, and the problem disappears. But shouldn't yank the upgrade off the market.

But what's particularly troubling is the fact that Apple is screwing over the people who rushed out and tried to become early adopters of their new operating system, which, at the time, was nowhere near ready for commercial release and was even then five years overdue. (Remember "Rhapsody?")

I'm not one of those who got screwed over in this upgrade fiasco. I happened to have picked up the upgrade the very morning of its release, which meant that it was free for me. But I will tell you this: I will never again pay money for a first-generation product from Apple. I don't care if it's hardware or software. Apple has proved that it is ready and eager to cash in on anybody and everybody regardless of how much we've helped them by becoming a early adopters. From now on, I wait until I am absolutely sure that a purchase is right for me at the exact moment I buy it. Apple wants $260 for an operating system? Forget it. From now on, when there's cash involved, I wait.

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