By Randy Giusto-

Apple’s decision to charge iPad owners for major iOs upgrades to me is a mixed bag for many iPad owners. I get the strategy, as Apple has used it for iPhone and its iPhone OS, allowing for free periodic updates throughout the lifetime of each product offering. Minor releases addressing minor bug fixes will be free but the more robust updates will not be.

The updates on the iPhone and iPod Touch side have been very frequent, plugging both security holes and rolling out new features. But it’s the security hole updates, when bundled with major releases that bother me.

This means that current iPad owner will get to jump from OS 3.x to OS 4.x and incremental OS 4.x updates but not OS5.x down the road. Apple’s iPad firmware licensing agreement is clear when you purchase the device, the first major update is free per Apple’s T’s and C’s-

iPad license agreement upgrade iOS AppleApple 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 OS software that originally shipped from Apple on your iPad, for free. For example, if your iPad originally shipped with iPad 3.x software, Apple would provide you with any iPad OS software updates it might release up to and including the iPad 4.x software release. Such updates and releases may not necessarily include all of the new software features that Apple releases for newer iPad models.

A few things that are issues. First, there are apps in the app store already for iPhone and iPad that require OS 4.0 although the 4.0 upgrade as of this date has still not been rolled out by Apple. Second, Im troubled when major OS upgrades include patches to plug security holes. When you buy a device of any platform, you shouldn’t have to pay for coding mistakes or vulnerabilities and the patches that fix them. That’s basic consumer satisfaction common sense.

Apple’s reason for charging for software updates has more to do about establishing more revenue streams than anything else. And I don’t object to the pricing since Apple’s OS upgrade pricing even at the iMac level is much less than say Microsoft and their Windows upgrade pricing. I just object to paying for security or bug fixes that may be bundled into future major OS releases.

 – Randy Giusto