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MacBytes
Jan 12, 2008, 11:39 PM
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Category: Opinion/Interviews
Link: The Downside to Apple's Frequent Product Updates (http://www.macbytes.com/link.php?sid=20080113003956)
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Posted on MacBytes.com (http://www.macbytes.com)
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zephead
Jan 13, 2008, 12:38 AM
In recent years, Apple has averaged about one major new release of its Mac operating system a year. In contrast, about five years passed between major releases of Microsoft Corp.'s Windows XP and Vista operating systems.

"Given the fact that the pace of Apple product improvements is between two times and four times faster than PC-based products, Apple buyers will always have a higher degree of buyer's remorse," says Gene Munster, an analyst at Piper Jaffray.

Seriously? Are they really saying that coming out with an OS every six years is better than one that comes out every 1 1/2? :eek:

beppo
Jan 13, 2008, 12:40 AM
instead of thinking of How you would have saved money or gotten a better product if you would have waited you should think of how it has made your life easier sense the time that you bought it and the time that the new version has come out

Aussie John
Jan 13, 2008, 12:52 AM
I really dont think Apple could ever be accused of releasing updates to its products too quickly. In fact they like to sit on them for as long as possible. How long between updates for Macpro and macbookpro.

siurpeeman
Jan 13, 2008, 12:56 AM
I really dont think Apple could ever be accused of releasing updates to its products too quickly. In fact they like to sit on them for as long as possible. How long between updates for Macpro and macbookpro.

the macbook pro line usually gets updated twice a year. since its release in march 2006, it saw updates only a couple months later when the macbook debuted with faster processors, followed by subsequent updates in october 2006 and may 2007. people expected updates during the fall, but the only change in the lineup was the option for a 2.6 ghz processor. they're not infrequent; people are just impatient. the mac pros, however, are another story.

samh004
Jan 13, 2008, 01:12 AM
So it's $129 to upgrade to a new OS every 1.5 years or how much to upgrade to an "Ultimate" version every 6 years ?

I don't know the exact price, but I'm pretty sure Vista Ultimate was a lot more expensive, and bug fixes came out slower. But hey, not trying to flame or start anything, this just seems like a very silly article.

donga
Jan 13, 2008, 01:15 AM
"Given the fact that the pace of Apple product improvements is between two times and four times faster than PC-based products, Apple buyers will always have a higher degree of buyer's remorse," says Gene Munster, an analyst at Piper Jaffray.

i think i'd have an even higher degree buyer's remorse if i had a subpar PC-based product vs. a friend/relative's quality Apple product.

Rodimus Prime
Jan 13, 2008, 02:14 AM
I think it is to fast but that is because it never around long enough to really give the devs times to adjust to it and really take full advantage of it.

Vista was to far delayed. I liked the 3 year cycle MS used to have and was originally planned to have for XP.

I think apple should slow down the release to of a new OS to onces every 3 years but the improvements would be that of a 2 OS jump in the current system. This would give devs more time to adjusted and I think more people would upgrade to the new os than in the current system because I know we have a lot of people here who will only buy a new OS every other time.

bluebomberman
Jan 13, 2008, 03:28 AM
I know the feeling. I'm tempted all the time to replace my Rev. A iMac G5, despite the fact that it's quite functional.

Would I rather Apple slow down its refresh cycle? Nah. But I suspect that all the shiny new products coming out next week will induce an overpowering drive to open up my wallet, driving me mad in the process...

EDIT: Don't get me started on replacing my Treo... Damn contracts. (Lusts after iPhone.)

t0mat0
Jan 13, 2008, 06:27 AM
"Given the fact that the pace of Apple product improvements is between two times and four times faster than PC-based products, Apple buyers will always have a higher degree of buyer's remorse," says Gene Munster, an analyst at Piper Jaffray.

If it wasnt for the word buyer's, this sentence would be even worse sense.
Dang, i'm so bummmed Apple keeps bringing out new better kit for us to buy, a yea ahead of the competition...

Blue Velvet
Jan 13, 2008, 06:30 AM
Yeah, I just can't keep track of the bewildering speed that they release new ACDs and MacPros. Someone, please make it stop.

Eraserhead
Jan 13, 2008, 06:36 AM
The thing is, that Dell update their machines monthly and no-one cares, I mean a Dell is a Dell.

jayducharme
Jan 13, 2008, 07:22 AM
The best part of the article is the plug for MacRumors at the end. :)

jackc
Jan 13, 2008, 07:32 AM
Wow, that is a dumb article.

iSee
Jan 13, 2008, 07:42 AM
Nice plug for the MR Buyer's Guide at the end:

Some Apple watchers have come up with elaborate methods of reducing the risk of badly timed purchases. MacRumors, an Apple news site, has a buyer's guide (http://buyersguide.macrumors.com/) that discusses the probability of imminent upgrades to Apple products, based on historic product announcements by the company.

Edit: oops, didn't notice previous post ^^^^

zap2
Jan 13, 2008, 08:45 AM
I hate this argument.

Just because a new product comes out, doesn't make the old one worse.

With Apple you just have more of a chance to upgrade, your old products still work just fine

macnulty
Jan 13, 2008, 09:36 AM
Wow, nothing like putting a negative spin on constant product improvement. However it serves as a classic example of what's wrong with journalists, if it bleed it leads.

zephyrnoid
Jan 13, 2008, 09:58 AM
The really bad news regarding OS upgrades as frequent as 12Mo cycle - is that they are proof positive of Alan Cooper's statement that "software developers ship beta products and dumb arse consumers are actually willing to pay for betas and patches" (paraphrased). So the true total cost of a major OS Version ownership isn't apparent to the consumer until the Core OS has reached maturity in 4-6 years. Simply put, Apple lets its customers believe that they're taking such good care of them, with the annual upgrades, when in fact it's the silly Apple customer that's taking care of Apple by subsidizing the process of refining the software to maturity on an annual basis. As a rule, I deliberately lag in my Apple OS upgrade path by 3-4 years to compensate for this phenomenon. MS is worse. Simply letting customers stew for 6 years between major upgrades, just means that customers are using outmoded or dysfunctional software until the major upgrade occurs. The point that Alan was trying to make is that all software sucks because by the time it matures, you're already in the hole. It's a conundrum that's difficult to resolve without forcing fundamental changes in the culture of the development community and the business leaders that finance them. Then again, I'd rather pay for Apple Kaizen than anything Microsoft

Rodimus Prime
Jan 13, 2008, 11:24 AM
The thing is, that Dell update their machines monthly and no-one cares, I mean a Dell is a Dell.

well problem is when apple does an upgrade it is a huge jump in performance making it a real loss if you have the older hardware.

I think apples biggest problem with going Intel is they have failed at adjusting to a faster update cycle. Apple needs to really have an update every few months and if it minor bumps every time it is not going to bother people as much when an update happens. Right now by a product and a month later an update happens it pretty much getting screwed.

Plus a faster update cycle would keep them more cost completive. Right after an update they are a great value but over time that value drops and after a few months it is no longer a good value and then by the time shortly before the next update they are a horrible value.♦

luminosity
Jan 13, 2008, 11:30 AM
I hate this argument.

Just because a new product comes out, doesn't make the old one worse.

With Apple you just have more of a chance to upgrade, your old products still work just fine

Amen to that, and then some.

Whatever comes out this week isn't going to make my MBP any less of a great laptop.

takao
Jan 13, 2008, 11:38 AM
yeah apple has to put out those upgrades faster ... all to often they simply fall in value too much

IJ Reilly
Jan 13, 2008, 12:14 PM
The really bad news regarding OS upgrades as frequent as 12Mo cycle - is that they are proof positive of Alan Cooper's statement that "software developers ship beta products and dumb arse consumers are actually willing to pay for betas and patches" (paraphrased). So the true total cost of a major OS Version ownership isn't apparent to the consumer until the Core OS has reached maturity in 4-6 years. Simply put, Apple lets its customers believe that they're taking such good care of them, with the annual upgrades, when in fact it's the silly Apple customer that's taking care of Apple by subsidizing the process of refining the software to maturity on an annual basis. As a rule, I deliberately lag in my Apple OS upgrade path by 3-4 years to compensate for this phenomenon. MS is worse. Simply letting customers stew for 6 years between major upgrades, just means that customers are using outmoded or dysfunctional software until the major upgrade occurs. The point that Alan was trying to make is that all software sucks because by the time it matures, you're already in the hole. It's a conundrum that's difficult to resolve without forcing fundamental changes in the culture of the development community and the business leaders that finance them. Then again, I'd rather pay for Apple Kaizen than anything Microsoft

Have you read Cooper's book "The Inmates are Running the Asylum"? Sounds like maybe you have. I thought it was priceless, if only for the concept of "dancing bearware." (For the uninitiated: lousy software that we use only because we're amazed that it can be made to do anything useful, AKA, the Microsoft business model.)

As to the article... what do you expect? He was on deadline and had to write something.

zephyrnoid
Jan 13, 2008, 03:52 PM
'Course I read the book and have a personal dedication from Mr Cooper on the sleeve. The paraphrasing was really from a speech he gave at a UPA conference in '01.
Sadly, in all those years, nothing has improved with regard to the psychology behind desktop OS software development. Handheld OS is a different story altogether. Pay attention to how in one fell swoop, the ipod & iPhone changed the rules of the game. Albeit LG Prada got pretty close but not as close as the iPhone has gotten to lifting the cognitive overhead. I see less and less attention going to producing clean, simple OS for desktop/laptops systems as most of the focus goes to wireless & handheld OS's.


Have you read Cooper's book "The Inmates are Running the Asylum"? Sounds like maybe you have. I thought it was priceless, if only for the concept of "dancing bearware." (For the uninitiated: lousy software that we use only because we're amazed that it can be made to do anything useful, AKA, the Microsoft business model.)

As to the article... what do you expect? He was on deadline and had to write something.

IJ Reilly
Jan 13, 2008, 04:05 PM
'Course I read the book and have a personal dedication from Mr Cooper on the sleeve. The paraphrasing was really from a speech he gave at a UPA conference in '01.
Sadly, in all those years, nothing has improved with regard to the psychology behind desktop OS software development. Handheld OS is a different story altogether. Pay attention to how in one fell swoop, the ipod & iPhone changed the rules of the game. Albeit LG Prada got pretty close but not as close as the iPhone has gotten to lifting the cognitive overhead. I see less and less attention going to producing clean, simple OS for desktop/laptops systems as most of the focus goes to wireless & handheld OS's.

Which is, ironically, a lot closer to Jef Raskin's original conception of the Mac.

I wrote a newspaper column about Cooper's book, back when I was doing that sort of thing.

painimies
Jan 13, 2008, 04:38 PM
The really bad news regarding OS upgrades as frequent as 12Mo cycle - is that they are proof positive of Alan Cooper's statement that "software developers ship beta products and dumb arse consumers are actually willing to pay for betas and patches"


When have you ever paid for an Apple software patch?

AND how is it a problem of a 12mo cycle? How long do you think is enough time to build a bug-free software product?

Also, Don't you think that at least part of the blame is on us, the consumers, for not being patient and constantly wanting new products and upgrades?

As a rule, I deliberately lag in my Apple OS upgrade path by 3-4 years to compensate for this phenomenon.

Heck, why not go for 5 to 10 years while you're at it?

MS is worse. Simply letting customers stew for 6 years between major upgrades, just means that customers are using outmoded or dysfunctional software until the major upgrade occurs.

So what do you think is the optimal update cycle for a software product?

The point that Alan was trying to make is that all software sucks because by the time it matures, you're already in the hole.

So, all software sucks? I sincerely beg to differ.

Rodimus Prime
Jan 13, 2008, 05:05 PM
When have you ever paid for an Apple software patch?

AND how is it a problem of a 12mo cycle? How long do you think is enough time to build a bug-free software product?

Also, Don't you think that at least part of the blame is on us, the consumers, for not being patient and constantly wanting new products and upgrades?


Problem is even if the OS is good which in apple cases it a beta relaese you pay for (time and time again we are told to wait until at least x.1 to come out.). It is the Devs that need more time. it takes by what I have noticed devs about 12-18 months to really get up to speed on the OS on new software. Apple case by the time they get up to speed on one OS they change it again on them.

This in turn causes the Devs to rush out new software that is in the beta phase and then having people pay for Betas.

IJ Reilly
Jan 13, 2008, 07:25 PM
So, all software sucks? I sincerely beg to differ.

You might want to read Alan Cooper's book for an answer to that question. A good short summary and some worthwhile comments on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Inmates-Are-Running-Asylum-Products/dp/0672326140/ref=pd_bbs_sr_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1200273640&sr=1-2

He makes a very good argument that the entire process of technology development is flawed. The wrong people are in charge and the goals are upside down. Maybe it doesn't all suck, but most of it could be a lot better.

nagromme
Jan 13, 2008, 10:31 PM
Seriously? Are they really saying that coming out with an OS every six years is better than one that comes out every 1 1/2? :eek:

Apple gives you choice.

If you like bigger releases, 6 years apart, you can have that. Just wait 6 years before buying the next OS, and skip the ones in between.

You have now simulated what it's like with Windows, if that's your preference.

Except you've gotten a much better OS than Windows in the end. And you've gotten the "ultimate" version for much, much cheaper than Vista Ultimate.

So just throw a few hundred in the fire to simulate OS X costing more than it does. NOW you have simulated the Microsoft experience as closely as possible.

But Apple ALSO gives you the choice I prefer. More frequent updates, each less expensive than a Windows version. I don't have to buy each one, but I choose to. Microsoft doesn't even give me the option.

zephyrnoid
Jan 13, 2008, 11:54 PM
When have you ever paid for an Apple software patch?
** Not talking about patches really.

AND how is it a problem of a 12mo cycle? How long do you think is enough time to build a bug-free software product?
** I dunno, it depends on the number of beta's you're willing to engage prior to a release. Obviously, most companies don't engage enough beta tester or software would be released bug-free ALL the time.

Also, Don't you think that at least part of the blame is on us, the consumers, for not being patient and constantly wanting new products and upgrades?
** I never complain about waiting for Software or Hardware upgrades. The perception that it's consumer impatience that drives the upgrades is misguided at best and flawed at worse. One of the fundamental challenges has been the synchronization between Software and Hardware ADVANCES. It's Apple that feels compelled to make incremental and major upgrades in HW and then, obviously, port SW upgrades to sync up with that. In truth, the fundamental way that a personal computer system works in our lives has not changed much since the Power PC was introduced. People still FEEL they are getting more bang for the buck when they upgrade when in fact the gap between processing power/OS power and software capabilities AND user competency has widened significantly. Simply put, the user base has a long way to go before they can say they've caught up with what a current Mac . even at the base level can actually do ! I cry when I see people that are on their 3rd or 4th Macs in the past 5 years and all they know how to do is surf the net, use e-mail and MAYBE a word processor!!:eek:


Heck, why not go for 5 to 10 years while you're at it?
** I would if the SW/HW would just stay in sync for ONCE

So what do you think is the optimal update cycle for a software product?
** The true answer is ** When the user base has produced end products with a current version that constitute a good ROI and that without an upgrade, they are unable to compete or to grow for reasons that are NOT synchronicity related. As I constantly tell my daughter " Want a new computer? Then show me what you've done with the one you've got and why you need an upgrade" With the exception of synchronicity related issues, she's yet to have proven that she's outgrown any of the last 3 macs she's gotten (1st was a a gift from me and the last 2 she bought on her own)


So, all software sucks? I sincerely beg to differ.

I didn't say it- Alan Cooper did. Go differ with him.:D
http://www.cooper.com/

robanga
Jan 14, 2008, 08:25 AM
This stuff is so silly. Here's an idea NEVER buy anything at all. Then you will never be disappointed. Do people really tie their emotional well being to whether they have the latest gadgets or not?

"Gee Melvin that computer is so...last year "

I purchase things because i have the need, desire and resources to do so. If I do not have one of those, then I enjoy what I have.

I understand some of these feelings must exist, you see a post or three here on the subject from time to time, but I really do not get it. I guess I am glad I did not go into the phycology business. I would have thrown my box of ink-blots through the window by now.

zephyrnoid
Jan 14, 2008, 08:43 AM
Yes. I agree with you. There are two over-arching classes of consumer. Those that have the wherewithal to pay for constant upgrades but not the capacity to 'do' and those that have the capacity to 'do' but not the wherewithal to constantly upgrade.
I fall into the latter category by choice. I know the game and I will only play on a schedule that suits my profitability, not that of a computer or software Co. or their shareholders. My sense of ego is perfectly preserved by what I manage to DO with what I have, even as I pity those that have the power to do more than I but CAN'T ('cause they're so busy upgrading). :D


This stuff is so silly. Here's an idea NEVER buy anything at all. Then you will never be disappointed. Do people really tie their emotional well being to whether they have the latest gadgets or not?

"Gee Melvin that computer is so...last year "

I purchase things because i have the need, desire and resources to do so. If I do not have one of those, then I enjoy what I have.

I understand some of these feelings must exist, you see a post or three here on the subject from time to time, but I really do not get it. I guess I am glad I did not go into the phycology business. I would have thrown my box of ink-blots through the window by now.