Jaguar: Time to Stop Pussyfooting Around
Subject:   You can get 10.2 for $69 from Apple; it costs too much at $129
Date:   2002-08-03 13:20:18
From:   kcar
Hi Derrick,

I’d agree that Jaguar is a big deal and hope it succeeds, but I can’t see buying it for $129. At the bottom of my piece, I reveal how some (a lot?) of folks can buy Jaguar for $69. It might not be the most ethical route, but Apple’s policies seem to allow this discounted route.

But first, I’d like to chip in with my thoughts...

I realize that 10.2 is a big step. Most of your readers do too, Derrick, but I have to agree with the person in pre-press work that your top-10 list of reasons to upgrade don’t grab people as essential reasons. A lot of Jaguar highlights are under-the-hood improvements. Apple does such a good job of insulating the average user from these Unix underpinnings that s/he couldn’t be bothered about LDAP, PPTP, GCC or CUPS. Your piece really should have explained just what the hell these things will do for us unwashed newbies.

Will these under-the-hood improvements make the average computing experience any better or easier? Why should the average user care? If you bought a new car, would you be willing to pay extra for features you’d never or rarely use?

It’s great that Apple has made these improvements, but it reminds me of the problem that MS Office v.X faces. Carbonization of that uber-app was great, but there aren’t enough features that really impact the work experience of the average user. Jaguar and Office v. X are big steps, yes, but they’re mainly under-the-hood adaptations to a new OS. Many users don’t feel that they offer enough new end-user features to justify their high prices.

Apple has a tendency to charge too much for its new products and services--almost as if there’s a surcharge for its being such a design-and-interface oriented company. The iPods apparently are selling quite well--but do you realize that a 20GB model costs as much as a higher-end PDA, and more than a 19” CRT or 15” LCD?

You (Derrick) see all the work that Apple has put into making Jaguar what is and say that the price is justified. I remember that previous Apple upgrades didn’t cost this much, and note that Apple seems to have its hand out for each big upgrade. I also, like any rational consumer, try to think about what other things I could buy for $129 and compare their desirability with an OS X upgrade. I conclude that the price for Jaguar is excessive.

Part of Apple’s problem is that the timing is wrong. Folks had pay to upgrade to 10.1 (which essentially made OS X usable), and now they’ll have to pay $129 to jump to 10.2 shortly after. If I started out at 10.0, I’d be leery of paying for each new upgrade. And Jobs announced in the same speech that iTools was now going to cost $100/year. People are still getting used to the idea of paying for services on a subscription basis. They’re not going to also keep paying $100-$130 for these periodic OS upgrades, especially when they’re hunkering down economically.

I’d like to respond to two of your comments posted in this thread:

> I'm astonished at the lack of creativity expressed in some of the comments.

Expand on this, Derrick. What sort of comment would you consider creative? Mac users are looking at this from a dollar and cents point of view--one that seems to be a little more in vogue these days, after the .com bust, 9/11, WorldCom/Enron outrages, and a yo-yoing stock market. What do you want you want from your readers--comments like, “If I shut my eyes tight and just do it, it won’t hurt so much and it’ll really, really help Apple” or “Hey, it’s only 35 cents a day for a year”?? Most users are just running their own machines, not entire fleets of Macs--hence the all-or-nothing attitude.

>True, it would be nice if it (Jaguar) were a free upgrade, but the customer numbers just aren't there yet.

Oh, come on! This is all-or-nothing thinking on *your* part. Do you and Apple really expect customers to make OS X an entirely self-sustaining project? Apple clearly still has to sell this operating system to people. Lower the price a bit and subsidize OS development from hardware sales or somewhere else. The way I see it, it’s more important to get boost OS X adoption than to make money off of it right now. Let the OS X tree grow and flourish a little bit before harvesting the fruit so heavily.

Apple definitely is at a crossroads, and needs to encourage people to adopt OS X. It’s simply asking too much money in the eyes of a lot of people. I imagine there’d be a lot less kvetching if this were 1998, or if Apple lowered the price tomorrow to $89 or $99.

Oh yeah--you can buy Jaguar for US $69--as an academic purchase. I called 1-800-My-Apple, and the company seems to be pretty relaxed about its qualifying criteria. If you’re not in academia, ask a teacher or student to buy Jaguar for you. If this route makes you morally queasy, wait until Amazon or someone else offers a rebate again

1 to 2 of 2
1 to 2 of 2