When I read the pre-Macworld reports that Apple was going to charge for the entire suite of iApps, I got that familiar Apple feeling in the pit of my stomach. “Oh boy, here we go again.”
Aim gun downward; shoot twice.
Then, what really irritated me was Joe Wilcox’s c|net article, Apple preparing new upgrade fees where he spelled out the iApps fee plan before Steve Jobs had even taken the stage. My view is that the news should actually happen before journalists write about it. It’s one thing to say what you think might happen, it’s another to write what will happen.
After reading the c|net report, I said to my editorial director, “Damn, I sure hope Apple changes its mind at the last minute and serves these guys a big plate of crow.”
Apparently, that’s what happened. In this morning’s report from thinksecret.com, “Steve Jobs decided some four days before his keynote address at Macworld Expo in San Francisco to give away two software applications for free, company sources have confirmed.” Later in the article, more evidence surfaces: “In addition, there is clear public evidence through an excerpt of a soon-to-be-released book about iLife products that Apple has planned on charging for the complete iApp bundle for some time.” I can’t confirm thinksecret’s report, but it’s consistent with what I’ve observed.
By now, everyone knows what really happened at the keynote. Jobs announced a smart, fair approach to the iApp upgrades. If you have the bandwidth, you’ll be able to download the new versions of iPhoto and iMovie. Or, you can purchase them all on CD, including iDVD for $50.
That is a reasonable business proposal. I know it costs money to develop these applications. They’re darn good. But, the iApps are also a powerful motivator to move to Mac OS X, and last time I checked, there are still a few people who haven’t switched … yet. By keeping a primary incentive in place, and offering a paying alternative to those who want the convenience, Apple has put the gun back in the holster.
As for reporting the news before it happens … The last guy I would ever be so bold as to predict his behavior is Steve Jobs, especially when he gets in his zone and starts listening to that little voice inside.
Apple’s handling of the iApps is just another indicator that this company is ready for serious business in 2003 — and that Steve Jobs is definitely still in charge.