My Turn

Making Jaguar, .mac More Palatable

Daniel Jansen - 2002.07.22

My Turn is Low End Mac's column for reader-submitted articles. It's your turn to share your thoughts on all things Mac (or iPhone, iPod, etc.) and write for the Mac web. Email your submission to Dan Knight .

Apple made a lot of people happy with Jaguar - then disappointed current OS X users by not offering a reduced cost upgrade path.

Apple made a lot of people happy with iTools - then disappointed current iTools users by renaming it .mac and turning it into a revenue center.

I think Apple could do better. I have a suggestion that would turn their disappointed customers into fans again.

The Olden Days

Once upon a time, Apple offered OS upgrades for free to every Mac owner. Bring in a few floppies, and your dealer would copy System 5 or 6 or 7 for you.

Then came System 7.1, which ended the free ride. Every OS since then has been a retail upgrade, although Apple has made System 7.5.3 and 7.5.5 freely available for download.

So Apple has a history of charging for upgrades, but also a prior history of offering no cost upgrades.

My suggestion is that Apple offer a one year OS upgrade guarantee with all new Macs and every copy of OS X sold. As long as you register with Apple, you would be able to download any OS X upgrade for one year from the date of purchase. You would also have the option of ordering a CD upgrade for $20.

As for iTools

My next suggestion is that Apple offer one year of free iTools service with every new Mac and every new copy of Mac OS X v10.2 (or later) sold. Not free email for life, but a free email address and storage space and more for the first year you own your new Mac - or for the first year since you've purchased a full copy of the Mac OS.


After one year, Apple could offer a subscription service. You could sign up for a year of .mac for $99, or you could pony up $149 for a year of .mac, the right to download OS upgrades for a year, and free OS updates on CD during that year.

This could get a lot of people who are incensed over the price of Jaguar and the cost of .mac to rethink their position.

AppleCare Plus

Finally, Apple could boost the price of AppleCare by $200 and sell it as AppleCare Plus, which would include three full years of .mac service and three years of OS upgrades. This would make AppleCare, which I already consider essential with laptops, a more enticing option for new buyers.


I'd love to see Apple offer a $49 or $79 upgrade path for those using Mac OS X, and I'd love to see them offer a low-cost (maybe $10/year) way for current email users to keep just their email address, but I'm not holding my breath.

Instead, I'm suggesting a way that Apple can better serve their customers and make the cost of their services more attractive.

Apple, the ball is in your court.

Daniel Jansen is the senior editor of Apple Quicklinks, Low End Mac's new headline news service.

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