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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.
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Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Contributor on

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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