Competition copies but also inspires, and Apple is positioned to take advantage
Apple may be pressured to launch its next Mac OS as a free upgrade to customers transitioning from Mountain Lion over to the new cat. Expected to enter beta testing early next year (if history bears any indication), OS X 10.9 should debut at Apple’s annual WWDC developer conference.With the launch of OS X 10.7 dubbed “Lion” in 2011, Apple kicked off an annual refresh scheme for its Mac operating system.
Instead of praise, Apple received backlash from its fanbase for bringing too much of the iOS glare “back to the Mac.”
Then came OS X Mountain Lion to put out some of the flames, but many people still regard Snow Leopard (OS X 10.6) as the last Mac OS version worth buying.
With the passing of every year, Apple has steadily scaled back the pricing on its Mac operating system. OS X Lion was a $30 / €28 upgrade; Apple now charges $19.99 / €18.99 for OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion.
So what will OS X 10.9 cost? Well, there’s a good chance Apple won’t just slash another $10 next year, but instead offer it free of charge.
Why? Two reasons:
1) The company can’t afford to upset any more Mac users by charging money for a third OS X version that may or may not live up to their expectations. Worst case scenario, unsatisfied customers would just have to downgrade. And yes, it would be a nice touch to offer more than a single Mac OS version on the Mac App Store;
2) Microsoft is reportedly taking up a similar upgrade pace that will debut in mid-2013 with the release of Windows “Blue.” The kicker? It’s reportedly going to be a free upgrade to all existing Windows 8 users.
Apple thrives on hardware. If Microsoft can go a year without charging for its core product, Apple will have no problem in releasing the next OS X for free. If anything, it’ll probably sell more Macs.