Apple ought to reintroduce paid software program updates

Apple ought to reintroduce paid software program updates

When you’re an OG iPhone or Mac person, then you definately would possibly bear in mind paid software program updates. Over a decade in the past, lengthy earlier than iOS 16 and macOS Ventura, main Apple OS updates used to value customers round $10 for iOS and $20 for macOS. By iOS 4, although, Apple switched to free software program updates, permitting customers to replace their gadgets for so long as they’re supported with out having to pay a payment.

Whereas this could possibly be perceived as a win for customers, perhaps Apple ought to begin charging for annual system updates once more. Not solely may it assist fund extra updates, however it’ll permit individuals to skip an replace in the event that they so select, particularly with Apple’s historical past of lackluster updates each different yr.

The why

Apple ought to reintroduce paid software program updates

This thought first crossed my thoughts when studying a rumor about iOS 17 and iPadOS 17. In keeping with the whispers, Apple would possibly push some initially deliberate options for iOS/iPadOS 18 on account of its deal with the mixed-reality headset. As somebody who impatiently waits all yr lengthy for WWDC, studying that 2023’s convention is likely to be missing as a result of “restricted sources” obtained on my nerves. The primary version of the headset will reportedly cater to a really restricted viewers, and I most actually do not plan on shopping for a first-generation unit. Consequently, I’d a lot slightly have packed iOS 17 and macOS 14 updates.

So how is charging for updates going to repair this drawback? As a substitute of reassigning some iOS engineers to work on different initiatives, such because the AR/VR headset, Apple may simply use the income from software program replace charges to rent extra engineers. This fashion, its funds would not change noticeably, and customers get extra steady and feature-rich updates.

When you’ve been observing Apple’s current patterns, you would possibly’ve seen that it will launch main iOS modifications and choices one yr and within the subsequent will sometimes focus on fixing leftover bugs and glitches. Whereas this technique ensures that the tech debt would not accumulate, it makes each different WWDC comparatively boring. So by charging customers for software program updates, this side turns into an lively income stream for the corporate, which it could actually then funnel into bigger, extra thrilling updates.

The technicalities

Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max display review cover

In fact, pulling such a transfer when Android OEMs supply free updates would not be so easy. In any case, Apple is legendary for its lengthy years of software program help for brand new iPhones and glorious Macs. It may supply perhaps three years of free updates to every newly launched mannequin to protect this status. Afterward, those that have not already upgraded to newer {hardware} must begin paying an annual payment for the respective working system.

Clearly, Apple would nonetheless challenge safety fixes and patches to non-paying customers to guard them and their information from public vulnerabilities by means of X.X.1 updates. It could solely paywall X.0 function updates since they’re utterly non-compulsory, and never having them would not hurt non-paying customers. Many builders publish their paid apps beneath new App Retailer listings after they launch a significant X.0 replace. So that they solely keep a model for a yr or so, then change to a brand new app. This fashion, customers who’ve paid for the outdated model can proceed utilizing it for so long as it really works. Apple may do one thing related.

In a approach, Apple has already carried out this prior to now. When iOS 16 first launched, the corporate continued to challenge minor iOS 15 updates to patch bugs and vulnerabilities, even to gadgets that supported iOS 16. It did not pressure everybody to replace to the newest model out there for a couple of weeks. Ultimately, gadgets supporting iOS 16 stopped receiving these updates for the reason that firm stabilized and polished the brand new model. The iPhone maker may use this identical strategy to paywall the brand new OS with out utterly abandoning free customers.

The enterprise mannequin


As talked about earlier, Apple may maintain these updates free for the primary three years since a tool’s launch. Afterward, it may cost the identical outdated charges, with iOS costing $10 per annual bump and macOS $20. iPadOS may go for an affordable $15, whereas watchOS would get a tiny $5 tag to match its dimension. For these absolutely immersed in Apple’s ecosystem, it may supply a reduced $35 bundle to entry all 4 working techniques. Equally, these enrolled in its $99/yr Developer Program can get free entry to all OS updates.

In fact, I am merely offering an idea of how the enterprise mannequin for these paid software program updates would work. The precise pricing may differ based mostly on Apple’s analysis and evaluation and a person’s nation of residence.

Small value to pay


Growth is not free, and it is unfair for customers to anticipate a service to stay free indefinitely. By taxing a software program replace, Apple may create extra job alternatives for software program engineers. In return, customers would get extra thrilling updates with fewer bugs, extra options, and higher stability. These unwilling to pay can resume utilizing their gadgets usually whereas lacking out on the brand new additions Apple works on.

Would you pay for software program updates if they supply a much bigger bundle? Tell us within the feedback part under.

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