Apple to impose 802.11n upgrade fee on Intel Mac owners

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  • Reply 121 of 205
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sunilraman View Post


    Ah, another Melbournian to add to the Ai Mix. You've made some very good points. Essentially, we have *no friggin clue* how the 802.11n unlock will take place in Australia. Apple Computer Australia may be a privately held registered Australian company but the peoples in Cupertino, California, USA are the ones making the big calls.



    At best though, sorry to say, Apple Computer Australia is a just distributor of Apple, Inc. hardware, software, services. Steve Jobs says: let's unlock 802.11n and also a way to spur Airport Extreme 802.11n sales. Apple Computer Australia says: "OK, just give us a bit of time".... and Apple Computer Australia will figure out some method that will keep Johnny Howard and Peter Costello and all the State Premiers happy. Whether it's free, $2AUD, $5AUD, $10AUD or shouting an employee of Apple Comp. Aust. a beer. 8)



    Firstly, thanks for spelling "Melbournian" that way. It seems the Melbourne-based media always spell that word "Melburnian". But I digress...



    My argument wasn't that we wouldn't be charged; it was merely that a US law would not apply to Apple subsidiaries around the world, just because the parent company is US-based.



    Schmidty.
  • Reply 122 of 205
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by a_greer View Post


    How then, and I ask this in all seriousness , can Apple give anything away without it being advertised in the specs of something?



    Huh? Apple can give away software for free any time it wants. iTunes and QuickTime Player are perfect examples.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by a_greer View Post


    They add widgets to OSX in FREE service fixes, they add volume control, new playback capability and such to iPod with iPod Updater, they give free OSX updates to those who purchase the system after the launch date (note that their box does not list the new OS as a feature)



    To you and me, "upgrades" and "updates" mean pretty much the same thing. But to Apple, they are different.



    For Apple, an update adds stability/fixes bugs/improves the functionality of a piece of SOFTWARE - whether its OS X, the software on your iPod, etc. To make you happy and to avoid an accounting nightmare, Apple gives these updates away for free.



    For Apple, an upgrade adds NEW functionality to a piece of HARDWARE and/or SOFTWARE. Additional RAM into a Mac, for instance. Or Panther to Tiger. Or QuickTime Player to QuickTime Pro. You always pay* for any legal upgrade.



    *(The exception of course are upgrades to software that was free to begin with, such as iTunes and QuickTime Player. Those are free ?*for now. )
  • Reply 123 of 205
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post


    People are welcome to keep saying it is attributable it to Sarbox -- there's no law against it! -- but that does not make it so.



    The upgrade fee is definitely a direct result of Sarbox -- or to be more precise, that Apple is scared as heck of becoming a Sarbox target. You may not choose to believe it, but I have yet to see any factual evidence to the contrary: The original post cites a report that claims Apple representatives said it's because of Sarbox. I looked at the accounting implications; it's because of Sarbox. It's silly ... but it's the law.
  • Reply 124 of 205
    chuckerchucker Posts: 5,089member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by 4 Chord Max View Post


    For Apple, an update adds stability/fixes bugs/improves the functionality of a piece of SOFTWARE - whether its OS X, the software on your iPod, etc. To make you happy and to avoid an accounting nightmare, Apple gives these updates away for free.



    For Apple, an upgrade adds NEW functionality to a piece of HARDWARE and/or SOFTWARE. Additional RAM into a Mac, for instance. Or Panther to Tiger. Or QuickTime Player to QuickTime Pro. You always pay* for any legal upgrade.



    So tell me, what about:

    1) 10.2.2 adding journaling support to HFS+

    2) 10.3.5(?) allowing you to swap the purpose of the F keys

    2) 10.4.6 adding resizing support to HFS+J on GPT

    3) 10.4.7 adding two-finger-right-click support to 15-inch MacBook Pros (MacBooks and 17-inch MacBook Pros came with a custom post-10.4.6 version that had it)

    4) 10.4.8 adding a 64-bit x86 binary segment of libSystem (Mac Pros came with a custom post-10.4.7 version that had it)?



    Aren't those new functionality?
  • Reply 125 of 205
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Chucker View Post


    So tell me, what about:

    1) 10.2.2 adding journaling support to HFS+

    2) 10.3.5(?) allowing you to swap the purpose of the F keys

    2) 10.4.6 adding resizing support to HFS+J on GPT

    3) 10.4.7 adding two-finger-right-click support to 15-inch MacBook Pros (MacBooks and 17-inch MacBook Pros came with a custom post-10.4.6 version that had it)

    4) 10.4.8 adding a 64-bit x86 binary segment of libSystem (Mac Pros came with a custom post-10.4.7 version that had it)?



    Aren't those new functionality?



    Absolutely they are new functionalities. But they are not new hardware.
  • Reply 126 of 205
    chuckerchucker Posts: 5,089member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Abster2core View Post


    Absolutely they are new functionalities. But they are not new hardware.



    802.11n on Core 2 / Xeon Macs isn't either.
  • Reply 127 of 205
    I just ordered a new MacBook yesterday from the Apple Store. Will I still have to pay the $4.99 to get 802.11n even though I ordered after this all was announced???
  • Reply 128 of 205
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Chucker View Post


    802.11n on Core 2 / Xeon Macs isn't either.



    I understand that the 802.11n is hardware.



    And for those that can't get past the Apple bashing, perhaps a read of the iLounge comment 25, Wikipedia reference (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IEEE_802.11), the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.



    And if anyone can point me to an official announcement from Apple that they are in fact going to charge for the enabler, I would appreciate it.



    I think that we should keep in mind that Apple has just conducted a major forensic audit and the legal auditors, accountants and lawyers have advised that due to the current atmosphere, i.e., being sued by shareholders for whatever, being investigated by the US attornies offices, or being castigated by a bunch of bloggers who immediately pounce on everythng that they do, that their postition may be tenuous at best, and advise to air on the side of caution.



    In particular, consider also how the introduction of Apple TV will impact on the present situation seeing that the the its functionality will be dependent on your computers also having a wireless standard to yield maximum performance, and as yet to be ratified.



    Just consider for a moment where this discussion would have gone if Apple had announced that the Macs are being shipped with a non-accepted wireless standard in preparation for the Apple TV introduction. From those that are intending to buy the Apple TV the minute it is released to those who have absolutely declared 'never'. By shareholders/ambulance chasers looking for any possible reason that may affect stock performance and dividends. To those that scream disparity because Apple is not retrofitting older Macs with the new technology for free.
  • Reply 129 of 205
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by 4 Chord Max View Post


    The upgrade fee is definitely a direct result of Sarbox -- or to be more precise, that Apple is scared as heck of becoming a Sarbox target. You may not choose to believe it, but I have yet to see any factual evidence to the contrary: Apple says it's because of Sarbox. I looked at the accounting implications; it's because of Sarbox. It's silly ... but it's the law.



    Apple says it is because of Sarbox? Can you please give me a link or a cite.



    The reason I ask is, the AI story that started this thread says:



    "Reasons behind the move -- and such a small obnoxious fee -- are not necessarily clear at the moment. However, iLounge's Jeremy Horwitz is offering an explanation from some Apple representatives present at last week's Macworld Expo.



    According to the editor, the fee stems from a law called the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which supposedly prohibits Apple from giving away an unadvertised new feature of an already sold product without enduring some onerous accounting measures.



    "Because of the Act, the company believes that if it sells a product, then later adds a feature to that product, it can be held liable for improper accounting if it recognizes revenue from the product at the time of sale, given that it hasn?t finished delivering the product at that point," he wrote."
  • Reply 130 of 205
    chuckerchucker Posts: 5,089member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Abster2core View Post


    I understand that the 802.11n is hardware.



    But it is hardware that the machines already ship with. All the "Enabler" does is provide a driver for it.
  • Reply 131 of 205
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post


    Apple says it is because of Sarbox? Can you please give me a link or a cite.



    Sorry, I was sourcing the original iLounge article. I should've wrote. "A report claims that Apple says it is because of Sarbox." I haven't seen any official statement from Apple directly.



    Hope that makes you feel better.
  • Reply 132 of 205
    mrmistermrmister Posts: 1,095member
    Shouldn't we wait until Apple actually announces this before we all get our panties in a twist?



    I admit, it *sounds* like something Apple would do, and the explanation sounds like something that could have happened--but it is still just a rumor.
  • Reply 133 of 205
    shaminoshamino Posts: 527member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    Have you noticed that most times when you buy some hardware there is a notice to the effect that the company reserves the right to improve the product without making that improvement available to current owners of the product?



    I wonder how many times a software update will do that.



    Now, the other question is whether this only involves hardware. I wouldn't think so. Quicktime Pro comes to mind, though we do pay for that.



    I would assume a difference. Mostly because there is a real cost to manufacturing and distributing hardware.



    It costs Apple hundreds (and often thousands) of dollars to manufacture a Mac. Giving away a new hardware feature is effectively an expense. I realize the pre-n cards were already installed, but Apple was previously under no obligation to provide one of those. (For instance, before now, they would've been perfectly justified in swapping them for b/g cards as a part of warrantee service, and now they can't.)



    For software, the manufacturing cost is virtually zero - it's just the cost of a CD, or the bandwidth of a download. The entire price goes to cover R&D expenses, which are ongoing and are not directly tied to the price. So I could see free software upgrades as being less of an issue.



    But despite this, I don't buy Apple's explanation. I think it may be to avoid lawsuits, but not due to SOX or any of the arguments that have been posed so far.



    I remember reading that IBM used to ship big-iron equipment as different models with different capabilities (like printers that were available in different speeds.) Many times, the different models were all physically the same - moving a switch or opening a relay would often be sufficient to get the higher speed from the slow models. And if you paid IBM for an upgrade, that's just what the tech would do.



    Clearly, if IBM would make the details of this "upgrade" known to the general public, they'd be sued. People who bought the expensive model could sue, saying that they got the same hardware as the cheap model. As long as IBM kept the "upgrade" technique a secret, they could say "no user serviceable parts inside" and be OK, but they wouldn't dare give away this technique.



    This may be similar, even though Apple isn't selling two different model MacBooks with different speed WiFi cards.



    (Of course, in this example, most of those IBM devices were rented, not purchased. Customers were paying for capacity, not the physical hardware. But the general principle may still apply.)
  • Reply 134 of 205
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,510member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Chucker View Post


    But it is hardware that the machines already ship with. All the "Enabler" does is provide a driver for it.



    Yes, but if this is all correct, it's the fact that the feature wasn't announced, and working, at the time of sale.
  • Reply 135 of 205
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,510member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by shamino View Post


    I would assume a difference. Mostly because there is a real cost to manufacturing and distributing hardware.



    It costs Apple hundreds (and often thousands) of dollars to manufacture a Mac. Giving away a new hardware feature is effectively an expense. I realize the pre-n cards were already installed, but Apple was previously under no obligation to provide one of those. (For instance, before now, they would've been perfectly justified in swapping them for b/g cards as a part of warrantee service, and now they can't.)



    For software, the manufacturing cost is virtually zero - it's just the cost of a CD, or the bandwidth of a download. The entire price goes to cover R&D expenses, which are ongoing and are not directly tied to the price. So I could see free software upgrades as being less of an issue.



    But despite this, I don't buy Apple's explanation. I think it may be to avoid lawsuits, but not due to SOX or any of the arguments that have been posed so far.



    I remember reading that IBM used to ship big-iron equipment as different models with different capabilities (like printers that were available in different speeds.) Many times, the different models were all physically the same - moving a switch or opening a relay would often be sufficient to get the higher speed from the slow models. And if you paid IBM for an upgrade, that's just what the tech would do.



    Clearly, if IBM would make the details of this "upgrade" known to the general public, they'd be sued. People who bought the expensive model could sue, saying that they got the same hardware as the cheap model. As long as IBM kept the "upgrade" technique a secret, they could say "no user serviceable parts inside" and be OK, but they wouldn't dare give away this technique.



    This may be similar, even though Apple isn't selling two different model MacBooks with different speed WiFi cards.



    (Of course, in this example, most of those IBM devices were rented, not purchased. Customers were paying for capacity, not the physical hardware. But the general principle may still apply.)



    We don't know if those costs you are talking about, exist.



    If a chip Apple uses has a new feature that doesn't raise the price of the chip, then there is no cost.



    Even if the chip costs somewhat more because of that feature, but Apple wants the chip for other reasons, then it still hasn't raised Apple's cost.



    If the chip costs more than another chip from the same manufacturer that is otherwise exactly the same, but costs the same, or less, that the chip Apple was using berfore that didn't have the feature, then Apple's costs are the same as they were before, though they may be slightly higher than they would be.



    How do you account for that?



    It's not that simple.



    And software updates do cost Apple, so does internet distribution, though not much.
  • Reply 136 of 205
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by shamino View Post


    Look here: http://www.apple.com/wireless/80211/



    Apple lists the following models:
    • iMac with Intel Core 2 Duo (except 17-inch, 1.83GHz iMac)

    • MacBook with Intel Core 2 Duo

    • MacBook Pro with Intel Core 2 Duo

    • Mac Pro with AirPort Extreme card option

    Anything else doesn't have the 'n' hardware.



    Thanks for the link. However; Apple says that list covers models "now shipping", there are still core 2 duos from a few months back still available sitting on shelves. I'm wondering if these all have the N standard or just the currently shipped core 2 duos.
  • Reply 137 of 205
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by michaelb View Post


    It's not unprecedented, as all of the MPEG Fraunhofer encoding license fees are taken care of by a QuickTime Pro license, which many (self included) feel should be part of an Mac OS X box purchase.



    Apple might have actually preferred the arrangement to enable encoding for everyone

    at a pre-negotiated flat rate (for a user base growing at 20-30%+ per year).



    However, perhaps MPEGLA and Fraunhofer never thought they could budge from

    a "per user" royalty arrangement. So Apple correctly demurred that only a tiny fraction

    (even now in the post-You Tube, post-iLife, and post video iPod era) of its user base ever does

    encoding, so why should they pay unnecessary encoding fees? The unbundling

    into a separate product suits this encoder royalty arrangement. Since Fraunhofer

    either allows giving away the *de*coder for free (or more likely caps the fees to

    corporations), this argument doesn't apply for decoders.



    Do you posit that Mac users would gladly pay $29.95 extra for each release of MacOS X

    for these fees? Perhaps wholesale cost is only $5, and the amortized development

    costs of MacOS is only (say) $25 -- no company wants to pay even 10%, let alone

    20% of its cost for a single patented component controlled by another company, unless that

    feature is extraordinarily compelling. Now .mp3/H.264 encoding may be insanely great

    for many Mac users, but for the vast majority?
  • Reply 138 of 205
    shaminoshamino Posts: 527member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    We don't know if those costs you are talking about, exist.



    If a chip Apple uses has a new feature that doesn't raise the price of the chip, then there is no cost.



    Even if the chip costs somewhat more because of that feature, but Apple wants the chip for other reasons, then it still hasn't raised Apple's cost.



    If the chip costs more than another chip from the same manufacturer that is otherwise exactly the same, but costs the same, or less, that the chip Apple was using berfore that didn't have the feature, then Apple's costs are the same as they were before, though they may be slightly higher than they would be.



    How do you account for that?



    It's not that simple.



    And software updates do cost Apple, so does internet distribution, though not much.



    I'm not talking about specifics here. You wrote "Now, the other question is whether this only involves hardware. I wouldn't think so" - claiming that there should be no difference between giving away a free hardware feature vs. a free software feature.



    I pointed out several examples of why hardware and software are very different items, and the biggest one is that the per-unit cost of software is minuscule (tens of cents for CDs, fractions of cents for downloads) compared to hardware.
  • Reply 139 of 205
    shaminoshamino Posts: 527member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by retiarius View Post


    Do you posit that Mac users would gladly pay $29.95 extra for each release of MacOS X for these fees?



    People buying one license might pay an extra $30 on top of the $130 price, although a 23% price hike seems pretty steep for just one feature.



    People buying a family pack, however, would be really shafted. After all, 5 encoding licenses ($150), added to the $200 price would be a 75% price hike. No single feature is worth that much. Especially when it's a feature that most customers aren't willing to pay for a-la-carte today.
  • Reply 140 of 205
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,951member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by shamino View Post


    People buying one license might pay an extra $30 on top of the $130 price, although a 23% price hike seems pretty steep for just one feature.



    People buying a family pack, however, would be really shafted. After all, 5 encoding licenses ($150), added to the $200 price would be a 75% price hike. No single feature is worth that much. Especially when it's a feature that most customers aren't willing to pay for a-la-carte today.



    Is DVD encoding done under a different licence? iLife is $79, family pack is $99. It's the same codec, just that the encoder is limited to only DVD use. I think there is the HDV export feature, which uses MPEG-2 as well. The DVD player is MPEG-2.



    The only serious part that I object to is the restriction of full screen playback to "pro". I think that's pretty asinine. If I didn't need an encoder, I would have used workarounds to get full screen.
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