Panther at a price

I wrote an email to the Australian Personal Computers this morning, replying their question on charges for incremental OS upgrades.

On their latest issue (September 2003), it reads:

Apple will charge $229 for its next OS X upgrade, called Panther.

Since the OS X's launch last year, there's been the Puma upgrade (free, except for shipping charges if not close to a dealer) and the Jaguar upgrade, which cost $229.

Panther offers full-motion video chat and file-browsing revisions, including encryption and online file storage. Apple users are noting that competitor Microsoft doesn't charge for incremental upgrades between OSes.

I think APC staff needs to pay more attention on editing. I am sure Mac OS X was introduced earlier than 2002. But anyway, here's my response.

Australian Personal Computers,

First of all, I need to congratulate and thank you for putting out such a great magazine. I have been a subscriber for the past 4-5 years, and I enjoy every single issue.

With 'Panther at a price' - first of all, Apple's competitor, Microsoft, they DID charge for incremental upgrades between OSes, if you count Win95->Win98->WinMe or NT4->Win2k->WinXP as incremental upgrades (and in some sense they are). I do aware that Microsoft does not charge for service packs, but neither does Apple. It does not cost me anything to 'upgrade' my Dell notebook from Windows 2000 to Windows 2000 service pack 4, nor does it cost me to 'upgrade' my iBook from 10.2 to 10.2.6.

However, I do feel disappointed to hear that Apple is charging users for Mac OS X 10.3, especially many have just spent $200+ to upgrade to Jaguar late last year. It makes the shelf life of Jaguar down to only one year, and I am sure many other Mac OS X users would feel disappointed as they have to buy new licenses every single year.

Moreover, Apple's OS upgrade is not really 'optional'. You can still run many Win32 applications with Windows 98, a 5 year-old operating system. But by browsing through software that run on Mac OS X, many of them will require Jaguar, or else you have to bear with an older version of the same software. I am sure many users eventually upgrade to Jaguar because of software support issue. But many people I know are still running their 4-5 years old Windows operating system.

I am a recent switcher to Mac, but I disapprove Apple's policy to charge users to upgrade to Panther, even though I might eventually pay for it.

I've just purchased the iBook 3 months ago, and when Panther comes out next motnh, I will need to face the decision pretty quickly. To upgrade or not to upgrade, this is the question. I never felt a need to upgrade my Windows 2000 to XP on my Dell, but somehow I felt Panther will be a worthy upgrade.