Apple makes OS X Mavericks free: The implications

Apple makes OS X Mavericks free: The implications

Summary: Apple's move to make its latest OS update free brings it up to speed with other developments. The lesson: The OS is less of a product and more of a jump-off point for other services.

SHARE:

Apple on Tuesday said that its Mavericks OS X update will be free for all Mac users, including those laggards running Snow Leopard.

mavericks 1

At Apple's iPad powwow in San Francisco, Craig Federighi, senior vice president of software engineering, said that Mavericks will be free. "And we're doing free in not a small way," said Federighi.

The move is notable because Apple is now on the same bandwagon as Microsoft, which is offering Windows 8.1 free as an update, and Google Chrome OS, which updates continually.

CNET's live blog | Apple stream | Apple's OS X Mavericks hands-on, in pictures

Apple's real message is that if it can get all customers on the latest software — a model that has worked for iOS since two-thirds of users have iOS 7 now — the company gets more customer loyalty. In addition, hardware will seem old with the latest operating system for laggards. As a result, it's possible that handing out the latest OS X for free will mean more MacBook upgrades.

A few implications on the Mavericks freebie move:

  • Apple gets its latest software and technology in the field

  • Mavericks is likely to be tied into Apple TV better. Apple TV is a precursor to an eventual iTV

  • Hardware upgrades are likely to follow

  • Apple is betting that the OS sales are a thing of the past. The real money revolves around services like app sales, subscriptions, e-books and iTunes Radio.

Topics: Enterprise Software, Apple, Hardware, Operating Systems

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

72 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Sure the OS is Free but you have to pay $250 or more extra for the hardware

    You cannot run that FREE OS on your own hardware or on a VM!
    greywolf7
    • huh?

      Are you running a hackentosh I have no idea what you are talking about with the 250 this software suppose to work as far back as 03 iMacs?
      Arthur LeFebvre
      • 2003 hardware?

        I don't think that it'll run on stuff that old...

        Remember Lion's minimum specifications?

        I highly doubt that Mavericks can magically clear things like that.
        ForeverCookie
      • Maverick will never run

        G3 Imacs, considering they didn't have intel cpu's.
        sjaak327
        • 2003 Macs

          were G4 laptops and G5 desktops.
          Champ_Kind
      • Not 03 hardware

        They said 07, or newer hardware. So tat dell optiplex will need upgrades, to run Windows 8.1. Oh wait you wanna run OS X Mavericks? Then you have to pay $6899 for that iMac that will just barely keep up with a#295 Netbook lol
        I hate trolls also
        • Re: Not 03 hardware

          You must be confusing Mavericks with a new Windows 8.1 upgrade XD
          X_Tech
        • My old imac just updated

          I bought my iMac in 2006 and I just updated to Maverick last night. My mac was running slow and i was considering buying another one. Since I was able to upgrade and my mac is now running smoother, no need to
          My Galaxy Prime
          • How to update a 2006 iMac? Couldn't do it.

            How did you do that? I have an iMac 2006, and a Mac Book Pro 2007, and couldn't update neither. For the iMac it says that it need Core Duo 2. And for the 2007, it said it needed 8 G's of memory, so I freed some, over 8 Gigs, and still nothing.
            jeffandrew
      • Actually, Mavericks is good back to the '07 iMacs

        That's still 6-year-old machines. Previous commentary said it would be '08 machines at the oldest which means older Macs still in use get another year of full-powered life.
        Vulpinemac
        • Perhaps previous commentary meant Macs still being sold in 2008.

          My Mac Pro was last sold in January of 2008 and cannot run OS X past Lion.
          ye
        • Good news...

          because I had to sit out the last two upgrades, because they weren't compatible with my '07 24" iMac.
          wright_is
          • Oops

            The last upgrade, not last 2. It is running Lion. It was the mini that had couldn't run Lion.
            wright_is
      • Huh?

        Yeah Right! Most Macs wouldn't run OS X ML if they were built before 2008 and you're thinking this will work on an 03 model! Those Macs were running the Power Cores and haven't been supported since 2.5.8!
        slickjim
        • i bought mine in 06

          And i have been able to update my OS without issues
          My Galaxy Prime
      • My 1,1 Mac Pro was discontinued in January of 2008.

        And it can't run any OS X version past Lion. And it's not because it lacks the compute power to do so. It can't merely because Apple decided not to support it. I'm sure I could install Windows 8.1 on it though.
        ye
        • wrong. it will run 10.6

          Snow Leopard. Mine does. Last sold in Feb 2008.
          DontUseMicrosoftAtAll
          • Wrong? About what am I wrong?

            Are you saying my Mac Pro will run Mountain Lion and Mavericks without tricks? Please enlighten me.
            ye
          • And...

            Lion and Mountain Lion are newer than Snow Leopard, your point?

            Lion runs on some 2007 Macs, but not all and Mountain Lion doesn't seem to run on much at all. If Mavericks is giving a new lease of life to these older machines that were dumped by Apple last year, then great...
            wright_is
      • You missed the point

        It may be free, but it is still Apple-only-only-Apple. (A tactic that has done so well for Apple in the past... like in the 90's when an inferior technology (Win95) nearly buried Apple simply because it was ubiquitous.) The extra $250 is a rough estimate of how much more you will pay for an Apple computer over a comparably configured system from anyone else.
        revspaminator