As an iPhone user all of my major OS updates are free.  However, major OS updates for my kid’s iPod Touches are not free.  Apple usually charges between $5.00 to $10.00 for their major OS updates.  I remember when I had my first generation iPod Touch I paid $20.00, so that I can have Calendar, Contacts, Notes, and Weather.  So I was basically paying $5.00 per app, which is not a bad price when you think about it.  It appears that the iPad will follow the same model as the iPod Touch when it comes to charging for major OS updates.

Ed Sutherland of Cult of Mac, is reporting that Apple has announced that they will be charging iPad customers for major OS updates. Now I’m not trying to scare away new iPad customers, because the iPad will ship with iPhone OS 3.x.x, not the new 4.0 OS that will be released this summer. In fact Apple is giving new iPad customers a free upgrade to 4.0.  Cult of Mac explains how Apple will be charging for upgrades:

““Apple will provide you any iPad OS software updates that it may release from time to time, up to and including the next major iPad OS software release following the version of iPad software that originally shipped from Apple on your iPad, for free,” the company said.”

I’d like to take a step back and explain the upgrade and charging process.  iPhones are exempt from being charged a fee for a Major OS upgrade or a minor upgrade.  From what I understand it’s a Sarbanes-Oxley accounting law.  Because you pay a monthly subscription or carrier fees for your iPhone you are exempt from these fees.

However, with an iPod Touch, and now with the iPad, you are not paying a monthly fee for your iDevice.  You made a one time purchase, and there are no other fees attached to the iDevices.  In this scenario Apple has to charge something for the Major OS upgrades.  What Apple doesn’t charge for is minor OS upgrades.  For example when you upgrade from iPhone OS 3.1.1 to 3.1.2, this is a minor upgrade.

Now some might be saying, “If I get the iPad Wi-Fi/3G version, I’ll have to pay a monthly fee to use the data plan.  This should exempt me from paying for the major OS upgrade.”  You might in-fact be correct, however, because you can pay as needed, and are not on a monthly schedule, this might exclude the iPad from getting free major OS upgrades.

Some people might think that charging for the major OS upgrade is unfair or not right.  But, Apple is giving us the first upgrade free of charge.  They could be charging us, but they are not.  You’re paying for a major upgrade to your iDevice, and you don’t have to pay monthly fees.  So, if you think about it,you’re paying a lot less than an iPhone customer that has to pay a monthly voice and data plan.  Personally I’d take the once a year upgrade fee over the monthly voice and data plan fees.

Photo Credit: iPad launch event

Article Via Cult of Mac

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