Is Apple getting ready to charge for 802.11n Mac enabling software?

Apple is planning to allow owners of Macs equipped with 802.11n WiFi adaptors to take advantage of this new technology - but rumors are circulating that Apple will charge for this update.

Apple is planning to allow owners of Macs equipped with 802.11n WiFi adaptors to take advantage of this new technology - but rumors are circulating that Apple will charge for this update.

According to the website MacFixIt Apple plans to charge $4.99 [Updated: Jan 19, 2007 @ 3.15 am Actually, it's $1.99] for the update. 

Which Macs can take advantage of this update?  Here's the current 802.11n-enabled lineup:

  • iMac powered by Intel Core 2 Duo (not including the 17-inch, 1.83GHz iMac)
  • MacBook powered by Intel Core 2 Duo
  • Mac Pro using the AirPort Extreme card
  • MacBook Pro powered by Intel Core 2 Duo

Apple will also offer the enabler software for 802.11n-compatible AirPort Extreme Base stations too.

Why charge a fee?  Well, the current thinking is that a fee is required because of accounting regulations relating to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.  I don't know enough about accounting to comment on this but it sounds like an odd explanation to me (but then again, knowing the intricate, confusing nature of big business accounting, I wouldn't be surprised ...). 

Question.  Would you pay $4.99 to have 802.11n enabled on your Mac?  Is this going to herald in an era of charging for updates?  Is this a path Microsoft could go down?

[poll id=67]

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